April 2008 Archives

forum readings

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"the internet was the first new medium to move decisively backward, for it is, essentially written" (180)

who hasn't spent a couple minutes every now and then reading through friends' facebook notes and myspace blogs?

Gopnik argues that email has made us more literate. Before that, he claims, most of our communication was through telephone calls and sparse handwritten letters. It helps us renew forgotten friendships; in a second, you can pull up contact information from the address book that can never be lost. But all we really want is to connect without intimacy; this is why the telephone and email succeeded, and the "videophone failed miserably" (181). Another medium, another intimacy mask.


"reading on a computer screen...lacks many of the pleasures offered by the printed book" (215)

Personally, there are too mnay distractiong icons and ads flashing around the text. They pull your eyes and attention away. I cannot read an article online either; I have to print it out, because the electronic copy does not allow you to highlight and make notations.

each form of physically recording a text has its peculiar strengths and weaknesses, to be sure. What, then, are those associated with the new digital technologies of cultural memory/' (217)

Let me just say that I wish I'd read this selection before turning in my paper last night. It's so relevant in all 3 categories. I also wish I'd readit before my midterm paper as well. I could have used the cultural changes section (2. Printed Books are technology, too). I cannot believe someone is so ignorant enough to say that "technology, particularly information technology, can never have cultural effects" (218). If there weren't any cultural changes, then waht did we just spend a semester learning about? What about the freeing of the mind? Rationalizing thought? 

 "These marks, which so obviously created a visible physical record of invisible sounds, provided a technology of cultural memory that, as Plato and many others since have pointed out, has had defining effects on human culture" (220)

oh my god. I am kicking myself for not having found this reading earlier. What a great quote for my midterm paper.

"the person who would preserve information in a manuscript age does so by preventing readers from having access to the text" (220)

and what a good argument against manuscript for my final paper. Now I'm getting kind of angry,

The materiality of the manuscript made it easily degradable. But I don't think it makes sense to throw out original copies when transferring to digital preservation. For public access's sake, I think digital transfer is essential; that way, the origianl document can be removed and preserved in the proper equipment to use when needed, which hopefully isn't often. But, just in case, it's there. It will still decay, but a whole lot slower. I have a battered copy of the Worthen Anthology of Drama that has pages falling out, tape all over the spine, and (yes, this is true) a squashed fly on the opening page of Fences. And I've only had the book since August. My copy of IANS (you all remember this from news writing) has been in my posession since the same time, but not used as often. I took care of both books. I don't dump my bag after each class. Normal wear and tear accidents happen over time; the pages in Worthen are Bible-print thin and very vulnerable. Would I read an electronic version? No. Only if I could print it out and mark it up; that way, I could have my copy and the reassurance that there was a backup I couldn't screw up.

"duplicating a manuscript requires that one expend an amount of time and energy similar to that expended in the creation of the text one wishes to copy" (221)

which can also lead to the wearing down of the paper, and the exhaustion of the human copier, which leaves the error/mistake gate wide open. For the sake of a more uniform content in distribution and durability of printing machines, the computer wins. But, "digital textuality also permits far greater ease of manipulability and reconfigurability" (221)-now that one applies right to one of my final paper arguments...!!!@!@!#

To sum up Landow, he writes a lot about what I did in my final paper, without mentioning Down and Out or 1984.


"The internet gives you the oppourtunity to meet other people who are interested in the same things you are, no matter how specialized, no matter who weird" (455)

would would have thought that the MUD's grandchild, the discussion board, would spawn political activist groups? The problem is that any nut can form a group or site. Are there any internet regulation rules? Becaue there's a lot of messed up stuff out there. Stuff like the Terrorist's Handbook is cause for government interference, from my point of view. There's filters out there, but nine are fool-proof. I remember once during 5th grade we were doing research when this one kid accidently (or not) pulled up porn. And this got past a filter that wouldn't even let you pull up your e-mail. 

Because the internet is faceless, people can experiement with thoughts without fear of being judged (sort of). It reminds me of that Simpsons episode where Bart creates the fake identity of Mrs. Krabopple's boyfriend with pictures and letters. Identity can be faked, so if people get angry and offended, you can pretend they are rejecting the "internet you", which may or may not be fake.

The separation and lack of interference from opposing groups allows these groups to segregate and remove themselves further from the mainstream. News blogs not regulated by the AP can be as biased and partisan as they like. People like being catered to, so the public is probably going to favour those who favour them.

The "information super-highway" is also a super highway for gossip. Any person with basic blogging skilles can post their thoughts on a subject as fact. chances are, no one will report them, if there is anyone to report them to. I guarantee you, if I posted a blog that said something like "robots eat oranges" and used some creative citing, eiditng, and composition, I could get people to believe it. 

 The rumor mill churns day and night with the internet. Because of the fact that anyone can publish, citing information found on a personal sight is not considered a reliable source for a paper.


Since I said all I wanted to say about Lesser during my last presentation, here's a link to that entry: The Conversion


"a link is a way of drawing connections between things, a way of forging semantic relationships" (198)

This article would have been great to read alongside the Media Lab story. Web surfing is preferable because it usually links to more information on the same subject, whereas the television has a much more limited content. Links can take us far away from something that may not have been very helpful. Case in site: Wikipedia articles. While Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, the end of the page usually contains several links that can lead you to a place more reliable.

The story that the columnists for the NYT wrote on McCain would not have bee as biased if they had provided links to the past subjects they were now paraphrasing. Their paraphrasing is dangerous because it reminds people slightly of the past; they may not remember everything. The information provided may muddle together with a distant memory to form something that people may believe is truth.   

Afternoon is a brilliant example of what links can do to literature. A story that have countless links in it and changes constantly would never work in the television medium. People have become accustomed to the fast paced linearality of televised works. Afternoon, because it is a text, can be read at whatever pace the reader prefers. There is no rush to comprehend like when watching a play or tv show. But, Afternoon cannot be recorded and reviewed like the other two can. Only in the original viewing is this game best understood. 




*and that, my journalism friends, is my last blog of the year. My brain hurts from sitting at a computer since 1 pm*

au revoire, I'm going to be in Paris two weeks from the day

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger

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Here it is: my last portfolio for EL 336. Never before have I kad a more demanding class than this (except for general chemistry).  Even though I am only a sophmore, I put forth all of my effort because I knew that this class is my last one that really focused on writing. It was a chance to have my literary butt kicked and criticised. From this class, my writing has improved beyond what I thought it could. EL 336 stretched me to my breaking point frequently; I was often tense when handed in assigments. some of the material, mainly Aarseth and Kirschenbaum, was wuite difficult to comprehend and required closer readings. But it was all worth it. I look back on what I wrote as recent as last semester and the writing is barely recognizable. Thank you EL 336; I am glad to get rid of you, but I am glad that you taught me so much.

and Down and out in the Magic Kingdom was one of the most interesting books I have ever read.

Coverage/Timeliness: deadlines and content requirements met with all

The Trivialist in Me-many, many different thoughts on Aarseth

Bentham in the MUD-why Jeremy Bentham would have a problem with MUD's and chatrooms

The Conversion-Lesser's transition into digital communication

Kirschenbaum and Beckett-words are supposed to speak for themselves

The Stupidity of the Human Races mystifies me-the dangers of information publishing on the internet

100 and still grasping at straws-how a computer is like a timecapsule and if text games have distracting elements

Demon waves and little city-the computer has many operation going on all at once like a city; they all intertwine

traces of memory-on how Afternoon incorporates all the elements we love about reading a novel

another socratic slap...sort of-my final thoughts on Kirschenbaum, adressing permanence, ephemerality,and accuract of digital text

hitchhiker-gate-a huge ehtical issue regarding a piece of interactive fiction

needs, purposes, souls, and flight attendants-Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and the dependence/need for preservation. What is memory?

I Kant believe what the world is coming to-parallels to "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", why Pixar movies are faker than fake, and why Kant would hate the Bitchum society

Interactions:I triggered something in the minds of others

Bentham in the MUD

Kirshcenbaum and Beckett

The Conversion


The Trivialist in Me

Bentham in the MUD

The Conversion

Kirschenbaum and Beckett

The Stupidity of the Human Races mystifies me

another socratic slap...sort of


needs, purposes, souls, and flight attendants

I Kant believe what the world is coming to

Discussion: what others wrote, I followed up on


A Well-Annotated Timeline

Racing Towards New Digital Solutions


Kirschenbaum 3 agenda item


Baio blog response

Doctorow 82-206



Kirshenbaum (end)

Doctorow-The Beginning


Kirshcenbaum (finish)



Kirschenbaum-Text Messaging



I Kant believe what the world is coming to

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Doctorow 81-end

*purposely leaving the big part about Julius' malfunctioning memory out of this blog, for that will be added into my research paper*

 "live -headed flight from Toronto" (92)

even little details like this are disturbing. For God's sake, people knock themselves out over sheer boredom. Guess it's a way to fast-forward through the mundane parts of life.

"there wasn't a single bit of tech more advanced than a film loop projector in the whole place"

Have any of you ever been to the Haunted Mansion? There are mechanical arms moving doors and coffin covers open, visible strings suspending spiders, obvious heads hidden behind gravestones, and other creaking mechanisms. All the visible elements of production make the ride even that more effective. the scariest part of the mansion is the graveyard because I know the heads are going to pop up and I have to sit there and wait. It seem that in futuristic Disney World, the more high tech something becomes, so does it become more uninteresting and sterile.

Speaking of uninteresting, who else is bothered by those Pixar movies? Yes, it's great that the audience can now see the details of a drop of water on a blade of grass, but there is something to be said about the process. Long gone are the days of animators sitting at desks drawing cell by cell renderings of characters. Pixar movies are meant to make the world seem more realistic, but the world they create is faker than fake. The 3-Dness, for me, makes the movie seem more fake than a traditionally animated one.

"there wasn't a shred of recognition in them. She'd never met me" (118)

In an "Eternal Sunshine"-esque tactic, Zed had edited her memory and removed every though of Julius. While I understand the appeal of removing pain caused by a breakup (oh, it's been a bad week, trust me), I would never want to erase my ex from my memory. People come and go out of our lives, but I believe their imprints on our minds enrich us in the long run. We learn different things from different people. I am a better person for having known him and would never want to cut him out of my life or memory. No matter how much it hurts. There's something very wrong and abnormal about having memories of only good times. But values have changed since what would be considered our present-day.

"why bother with surgery when you can grow a clone" (128)

And while you're at it, why bother erasing your pencil marks when you can just get a new page? This is blatant waste, but in this world bodies are expendable. Julius' condition is evidence that nothing can be perfect, and there will always be a need for somebody, however small, to be able to fix it. Unfortuntely, due to his low Whuffie, Julius is not considered important enough to devote time to.

"he presented me with a clever little handheld...it had much of the functionality of my defunct systems" (164)

I believe what Julius is talking about is either a PDA (are they connected to the internet) or an i-phone type device. In our times, they are an extension of the brain, but in this future devices like the PDA and i-phone would be considered prototypes of the brain.

"plan a murder, kill yourself, have yourself refreshed from a backup made before the plan" (196)

What a "perfect crime". If you have no memory of the incident, you are technically "innocent". Hope to go this never happens; the polygraph test, while not yet perfected, would be rendered useless. Something like this would be an invitation to criminals. I am reminded of Kant's philosophy. He states that every action should be weighed as a maxim, which means you have to think about if your action would be able to be repated by everyone. If not, the action is immoral. Kant calls this the "universal law" test. 


needs, purposes, souls, and flight attendants

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This is actually a word used in the flight attendant industry. Deadheading refers to when an attendant does not work a section of the flight (either coming or going) and sits like a passenger. I wonder if Doctorow saw the connection or arbitrarily chose the word. Regardless, deadheading in "Down and Out" is an exaggeration of the actual meaning.

"we can't remember what it was like to ear our keep; to worry that there might not be enough, that we might get sick or hit by a bus. We don't remember what it was like to take chances, and we sure as shit don't remember what it felt like to have them pay off" (11)

Humans need to feel. They need to contribute to society. That is what our unalienable right are all about: to allow participation in society. regardless of the need to work, it is a human instinct to do something worthwhile with your life. Royals don't need to work, but they are always holding fundrasiers and forming charities because they have a natural need for human fellowship. We need to feel something, even if it is pain. At least we feel it.

"you think you're going to be anything recognizably human in a hundred centuries" (12)

"I've seen about enough, and that'll be my last day" (12)

"There'll come a day when I don't have anything left to do, except stop" (13)

Humans were not meant to live forever. Eternal existence would have severe psychological effects on a person. A cure for death sounds good, but what reason does a person have to live forever? Each time the person is re-generated and re-born, they lose a little bit of themselves eacg time. Bodily features are different, and memory is altered. What will be the affect of a thousand deaths? Will anything be left over? What will be our purpose for going on and on...

"it was climbing steadily upward as he accumulated more esteem" (13)

I love the satire Doctorow writes. That is the real reason for acculmulation of money, isn't it? It is a symbol of approval. The poor are looked down upon and the rich are looked up to. Nice metaphor. Whuffie forces a person to confrom to society. If you don't act a certain way, your riches will decrease. It's a inadvertant sociological control device.

While the book is a little disturbing, Doctorow made some valid points. "everyone who had serious philosophical conundra on that subject list, you know, died, a generation before." (32). There was no need to fight against an opposition because they would fade in time. The Bitchums just had to wait; the circumstances would give them free reign.

"But you're not really an atom-for-atom copy. You're a clone, with a copied brain-that's not the same" (42)

Like I said earlier, there is something lost with every death. Is a soul something unique to the body, or can it be transferred? Memories alone do not constitute someone's character and personality. Animals have memories, but do they have souls? Many would say not. So what is the soul then?

*I have deliberately left out all the parts about memory. I will be saving them for my paper*



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"One person I talked to said, "When it sells 20,000 copies we'll finally be rid of Douglas Adams." That may be a little cynical. However, let's look at the alternatives.One person I talked to said, "When it sells 20,000 copies we'll finally be rid of Douglas Adams." That may be a little cynical. However, let's look at the alternatives."


okay, first of all, I am pretty sure that trying to get rid of the author of the storyline would not be something anyone would like to admit or be proud of. So let's examine the ethical questions Dr Jerz posted on his blog:

1. Can a blogger be a journalist?  Is this particular blogger a journalist? Who decides?

I don't think that he is a journalist. I have been taught that a journalist must always have permission from his sources to publish what they said. Otherwise, the writer can be sued. The first ammendment does not protect you from lawsuits; it just protects your right to free speech, not the reprocussions. A journalist must decide whether it is worthwhile to publish information that may get him to trouble. I'm anxious to find out of the writers of those emails have discovered Baio's little discovery.

How important was the information on the disk anyway? To be, it would be like someone discovering an 8th Harry Potter book. Sure, its interesting, but I can certainly live without it. The secret tapes in Watergate were a whole lot more important than a disk containing unreleased information about a game. What if Baio gets sued? Was it really worth it? He must care a lot about interactive fiction games....

Is it journalism if it relies wholly on archival material?

No. He didn't do any work or reporting. Someone handed him the material. That didn't mean he had to publish it. Is the world really a better place now that Baio released the secret emails? It would have been journalism if Baio would have then questioned the people involved. i don't really think that this counts as investigative reporting. I also met Mika' husband at the funeral last July. He helped break the story about the soldier abuse in Iraq. That was investigative journalism.

Is it reliable journalism if it depends on anonymous sources (in this case, the unnamed source who provided the author with the Infocom archives)?

You have to use your judgement. Deep Throat turned out to provide the reporters with valuable information. But probably not everyone will be as truthful. For all the reader could know, the source could be fictional. That is why when US Magazine says, "A source told the magazine that Beyonce and Jay-Z....." is not good journalism. "Anonymous" source could also be a way for the reporter to insert his own opinion into the story, which is also against established journalistic rules.

Is it journalism there is no editorial oversight -- nobody to say "Woah, there, are you sure you should be publishing the full text of e-mails that were sent from one private individual to another?"

The editor is supposed to catch mistakes and information that could get the writer and rest of the staff in trouble. I've caught quotes that would not be allowed in the Setonian. The editor acts like a filter. In a paper, the editor has final say, but I don't really know about freelace authors...

Was the information pressing enough, or of sufficient news value, to justify a "publish first and ask questions later" attitude?

 NO. Not really. How much of an interest to people is this subject? They are probably not in the minority. How much is this information going to positively or negatively affect people's lives?

Is it journalism if the author offers to de-publish text that the original authors don't want published?

I don't really know if that would be an option. There is such a thing as a retraction, but someone can never be un-published. Someone, somewhere has probably already copied the document. De-publishing would not eliminate distribution of the material. I refer to my HS Chorus teacher's scandal. He unpublished the documents, but someone had already made a copy and distributed them to faculty and students, past and present. You can never be certain that somebody does not have a copy. Never publish anything you wouldn't want everyone to see.

What opportunity for insight and subtlety was lost when the author chose to publish without checking with the sources?

Clarification. Perhaps there is more to the story. Maybe all of the people mentioned in the emails made peace with each other. Baio has only "reported" part of the story. He has painted people as villians who may not be that at all.

another Socratic slap...sort of

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Kirschenbaum 4

"but whay do we mean when we talk about transmitting-sending and receving a written text? and what are we to make of words like error, corruption, purity, and verification, all of which are also conspucuous in the language of textual criticism" (215)

"the essence of his expression, and others, such in general as spelling, punctuation, word-division, and the like, affecting mainly its formal presentation" (215)

So the words themselves, disregarding all these other elements, are not all that is communicated. I guess this is the reason why hadwritten manuscripts are so valuable: they are more able to contain the writer's essence than plain print. The omissions, crossings-out, and notes in the margins have value as well.

"Agrippa reminds us that preservation is ultimately a social demain, where actions and agency can serve to trump purely technical considerations" (218)

The preservation occurs due to how much the readers value the content. The readers obviously valued Agrippa so much that they felt everyone should be able to read it. Due to its design, this was more of a challenge than traditionaly copying.

"they were priced at $450, $1,500, and $7,500 respectively" (222)

maybe people fogured that the price was so high because the work had major artistic value. Therefore, interest was peaked.

"hacking and cracking...these activites do not need to involve a computer" (226)

I am reminded of a story where a man was in a jail cell and was trying to break out. He found rocks on the bottom of the cell and bits of metal in the wall to try and hack away at the cell door, but all of his crude tools broke and crumbled. The man spent many hours in vain, becuase the door was unlocked the whole time. The point: overthinking is not always the best solution. Simple may be the key. I record interviews all the time instead of taking notes. It's just a better assurance of accuracy. No knowledge of code needed.

"and it wound up being this permanent gohstly presence on the internet, which I couldn't erase if I wanted to...there is no place to go and pull the plug on this thing. It sort of lives there. So it worked out really well" (228)

By the transcription of the poem to the internet, there was no esacpe. There was no chance that Gibson would forget what he had written. But that was a good thing, considering the content of the work. Memory is faulty; I imagine Gibson would not want to forget his father. Maybe subconsciously he wanted the poem to be hacked; "this was a 'planned progression' of his work" (227)

"text which were not translated into the new medium almost always perished, because they had become unintelligible to the textual classes" (236)

could this mean that a future generation may not be able to read books because they don't know how?  

Traces of memory

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Kirschenbaum 4

"has been exposed to a wide range of editorial interventions and authorial revisions in the oucrse of its relatively brief publishing" (161)

how ironic then, is it that Afternoon was meant to be a text that changes?

"But too often the reader comes upon a new hallway not previously explored or finds a previoudly locked door giving way to the touch" (165)

I know I've read books where the next time I read them, a statue or door comes through in the next that I didn't notice there before. Afternoon, it seems, makes use of all those objects that, on the first time through, you may think of as just background. (I am seriously resisting an urge to mention the room of requirement in HP).
If you pay close enough attention, you might have one of those "oh yeah" moments where you see how one little object or alteration can change the entire story, while at the same time keeing some of the origial elements. All those background characters you meet might somehow fit into the story; all characters in a story are there for a reason, and afternoon (by my understanding) more than makes use of the oppourtunity for intertwining stories.

"stacking cells inside other cells indicates hierarchical relationships, while drawing and labeling lines from one another indicates associate links. The author may then use the created structure to control or review the presentation of the text" (172)

So the author has control over how the reader reads his work. Maybe the links are arranged so that each time the reader plays, he will see more and more how connected these sidesteps are. The room or requirement in Harry Potter was mentioned in the first book, but didn't enter the storyline until the 5th book. But Rowling mentioned it for a reason, maybe meaning to let us wonder about it. My point is, everything that an author puts into the story, even the description of a plant, is significant and important. You just might not understand to what degree when reading traditional texts.

"But I swear to God it reads like an entirely different series of stories. It really jumps to life right now from the first foray into the text" (184)

This quote sums up my point about Joyce. One little tweak, and the entire story (or a person's perception of it) changes.

"additionally, users of Netscape Navigator should turn link underlining off" (193)
"the original...did not show it links" (193)

So maybe what Joyce meant by not underlining the links is that the author was meant to discover them on his own. The story progresses differently according to the reader's interest. someone who is not paying enough attention may not notice n unlocked door or an overturned pot.

"an electrnic document is literally created anew each time it is accesses, symbolically and procedurally reconstituted from the analog bit representations recorded by storage media" (203)

This quote reminds me of something we talked about in Form and Analysis while reading "The Empty Space". Brook argues that emotional memory is not a good tool to use for actors because there is really no original memory. There is no new process within the person, nothing created. We only remember what happened the last time we remembered. Each time, more and more of the origial fades. Our minds act like computers, reconstituting a "memory" from the representations (that is literally what they are) our brain has recorded. It has been proven that memory can be erased and surpressed, and can be recovered, just like recovering a document. This is actually one of the few things Brook said that actually made sense to me.

"date and time stamps that certify (to the second) the moment of the object's local creation, the last time it was modified and the last time it was accessed" (204)

And thank god this happens. have you ever gone to save a document and cannot find it again. I have saved countless papers in a pinch, and the default setting is always the first couple of wordse of the paper. Unfortunately, they are usually my name. I have about 10 documents under the same file name, but each one was created on a different date.

Demon waves and little city

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Kirschenbaum 3

"they are resting places within the transmission process where the operating system pauses, evaluates the signal, check for errors, and corrects them before passing the reinvigorated signal further down the symbolic line, where it eventually gets delivered to the user in its "perfect and original form" (135)

So is that what is going on when there are all those clicks and buzzing sounds? Hard drives do make errors; mine has been acting up and has been closing documetns because it finds errors. That's why I'm in the library.

An image comes to mind of a series of tiny combs grooming the document in sucession. I have seen a hardrive, and there are millions of little bumps and magnetic strips. It looks like a tiny city. I bet every strip, bump, light, piece of metal has an individual grooming function. What goes on in there? Once I save a document, does the hardrive start humming like New York City.

The way the hardrive is described, you expect to end up with a perfect paper, but there is also human error to take into account. I guess the perfecting is in terms of signal, magnetic polarization, and electricity. Does this remind anyone of those coke commericals where the drink is constructed through a series of insanely complicated tasks?

"chimerical" (137) - is this a reference to Calvino?

I have to say that creating a demon face out of sound waves is genius


100 and still grasping at straws

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yay, 100th blog entry!

"we find evidence that at one time this disk had at least two other games stored on it...a floppy disk can also reveal the hand of the reader or user" (127) Kirschenbaum 3

I guess it's sort of like a time capsule. Every person (advertently or inadvertently) leaves something behind. Gives you a clue as to what the previous person liked. Reminds me a little of when you try and record onto CDR's. If you recorded previous songs on the CD in one sitting, you cannot erase them; they are locked in place. At least with the disks, you can use all the storage space. If you record three songs and then stop, then the rest of the leftover memory is wasted.

It's great that you can keep reusing the disk. From what I can comprehend, the leftover programs do not interrupt the current ones. "The closest analogy might be to a photographic facsimile image of a printed page containing invisible writing" (128).  It transfers, but does it really affect the program? Is it just a harmless handprint?

"they seem to consume an inordinate amount of the player's attention by operating differently from any other subject in the game" (131)

"if a player picks up more than one not at the same time he or she will not have any control over whcih ine remains in hand" (131)

"perhaps they are a plot device of another kind" (131)

Maybe the notes are meant to distract the player and draw the game out a little bit. The player has to make a choice between two notes if he comes across them. Which one will benefit him? one? none? Do they have a point at all? It's a risk, and risks make games interesting (and often frustrating).

I love Mika Brzezinski

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Best Practices-executive summary-fairness

"such individual journalistic shortcomings as arrogance, sensationalism, prejudice, over-coverage of violence, and and invasion of privacy are often taken together by the public as a singular demonstration that the press is not fair" (10)

It is for these reason that I do not write sports articles. I am aware of my prejudice and negative bias towards athletes, plus I have no clue as to the rules of any sports games.

Sensationalism occurs because it sells. Newspapers are not ruled solely by proper ethics and integrity; they are also ruled by the almighty dollar. The news is a business, and scandal sells papers. I'm going to once again bring up the Anna Nicole incident. It was everywhere. For months you could not turn on a tv set without seeing her pancake-makeup face plastered all over CNN and MSNBC. Did it matter that we have a war going on? That to many people was same-old, same-old. It's really said that a report containing information about a car bomb that killed 15 people barely registers. You flip to Family guy and forget about it. We become numb to destruction when it occurs in succession.

Normal people aren't interesting enough for the public. They want to read about celebrities, who have been elevated to the status of demi-gods because of their unusual jobs. Case in point: the Paris Hilton Jail Controversy. Why the hell was it so important to have round-the-clock coverage of the jail entrance. I guess it as because Paris was finally getting what a celebrity deserved: to be treated as human. But then again, everyone who offends the law as she did receives the same punishment. "Poor" Paris was human for the first time in her life. But a human isn't interesting. Thank god for journalists like Mika Brzezinski who have the courage to stand up and say, "no, we're not doing this." Mika became in Internet sensation when she tore up the Paris Hilton in favor of a more relevant story. She made a very good point: gossip is not news.

this comment was found on a youtube video of the incident:

from "sprintbass:"

"no we don't have to obsess about misery but surely to god must we obsess about some lazy eyed talent-less person who only got to where she is because of daddy and a night vision camera Mika Brzezinski hotter than her anyway and is a real woman and apparently hates fluff as much as i do lol!"

Ignoring the crudeness of the comment, sprintbass makes good points: we don't have to obsess over the war, but it is worthless to obsess over a person who is not really making a contribution to society. How does walking around in min-skirts saying, "that's hot" improve the world.

Last July, I met Mika at a funeral. Her nephew is my friend from high school.  You better believe I walked up to her, looked her straight in th eye, and said, "you are awesome and my hero for doing that." Considering there were over 6,400 comments left on this youtube video, most favoring Mika, I'd say that it is a safe bet that the public would rather read a relevant story that sensational fluff.

Mika admitted that while there was a story, it wasn't a very good one.


The stupidity of the human race mystifies me

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Kirschenbaum Chapters 1-2

"so thoroughly integrated into our daily lives are magnetic recording media that we routinely embed them in an even older substrate, paper" (29)

I cannot read a hypertext or journal article straight from the screen. I have to physically print out the document and highlight/mark it up. To me, the paper version is somehow more tangible and permanent. It is only after reading the paper copy that I go back and click the links. When editing my own paper, I have to print out a copy because it is so much easier to skip over details when all you have to do is press down on the scroll button.

"Thus one does not always need to look at screens to stud new media or to learn useful things about the textual practices that accumulate in and around computation" (31)

Well, this quote certainly applies to the last book we read, Cybertext. I'm probably the only one in this class that hasn’t taken Writing for Internet, and thus has never played an interactive fiction game. But, I understand the theory behind Aarseth's writing, so I can comprehend the material. I'm sure lights will be shed on certain sections in the next semester, for I will be getting a double-shot of interactive fiction.

So entrancing are these symbols that we forget ourselves, forget who we are. We forget ourselves as we evolve into our fabricated worlds. With our faces up against it, the interface is hard to see" (34)

did this quote remind anyone of Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons? He retreats into the recesses and lures of the internet, living his life through the machine. His identity is summed up in daily blogs, chat room conversations, and role-playing games. All of these things are good in moderation, but it is key not top get sucked into the virtual world, or you will lose touch with reality. Comic Book Guy has no idea of how to properly function on the real world. He does not know how to communicate with people, often treating them rudely. Be careful with the internet: you don't want to be 40 and living in your parent's basement. It doesn't matter how smart you are; everyone is susceptible to temptation.

"There is no bottle of white-out paint complete with miniature touch up brush" (40)

this is the reason I prefer to write on the computer, because changes that would take several seconds to correct on paper can be changed in less than a second. When I leave for Paris in less than a month to do my study, I will not be taking my computer with me, so I will be getting a tutorial in writing carefully and deliberately.

"digital evidence has become a routine part of many criminal investigations" 46)

last year, I got an aim from one of my friends still in HS telling me that the HS chorus teacher had fired for writing inappropriate stories about what he would like to do to current students that rivaled Penthouse letters. I pieced the story together from what I heard from friends still in HS, as well as the copy of the documents that circulated through the current student and alumni bodies: He was "smart" enough, and I use that term very loosely, to make up fake names, although his character was easily identifiable. A student had found his xanga containing the "musings". She was smart enough, and I use this term tightly, to copy the document and send it to the principal. He had a tracker on the site and deleted the offensive material once he saw that a student from the school had seen it, but he was too late. The CIT people were able to track down the source of the material using the IP address the students had coped. He fessed up and sent out a letter of admittance and apology. It s shame; the man was a brilliant musician and teacher, but he made a mistake that cost him his career. Erasing a document does not mean erasing evidence. The stupidity of the human race amazes me sometimes.

"the easiest way to recover data, therefore, is by simply locating a "deleted" file on the storage media after its entry has been stripped from the FAT but before any new data has been written to the same location" (51)

Is this a pun on the phrase "trimming the fat?"

Chapter 2:

"with each stroke of the keyboard or click of the mouse, do we realize what's happening in the discourse networks of the purring, putty-colored box?"

Much like cars, we don't care what is happening so long as the machine operates. Some people just don't have mechanical interests and care about the product more than the process. This is my hypothesis of America architecture that I will be testing against the Parisian architecture in less than a month.

"Instantaneous access to any portion of the physical media without the need to fast-forward or rewind a sequence" (89)

One of the benefits of that electronic text is that scroll button and in-text search engine. In this way, electronic text is valuable to a different type of reading: research. When searching, we do not often read the entire contents. But scan for quotes that support or disprove our thesis. Reading the document in full would not allow time to write the paper.

"Storage, then is a kind of suspended animation" (97)

Interesting. Even though you turn your assignments in and receive them back with grades, you are not done with them. They will come back to you during the portfolio review and during job interviews. I hope you all saved your STW papers and didn't have to tape them back together like I did mine once I read the portfolio requirements.

"What if I hated Ken's taste? Would I lose respect for him? I'm not talking about the Paula Abdul songs; we're all entitled to our guilty pleasures. But what if it was all bubblegum, or deeply dull? It would be like opening his closet and finding Star Trek uniforms" (101)

Ha ha ha. Though I am obsessed with Harry Potter, it will never get to the point where I dress up and go to conventions. And I know people like that.

"Pod jacking, plugging into a friend or stranger's iPod" (102)

Yet he fails to mention that when you do this, your songs are erased and replaced with the other's songs. Your iPod takes on a new identity.

Kirschenbaum and Beckett

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Kirschenbaum preface/introduction

"was the text's illicit dissemination online the point of the project from the very start, or did Gibson and the others originally imagine it as an irrevocably vanishing perfromance piece about the ephemeral nature of memory and media" (X)

that is such a cool experiement, if it was meant to be one. It is yet another slap in the face to Socrates. We need reference points. We read and retain, but not everything read is remembered and comprehended. Clarification is needed. This is why we take notes during lectures. We spend so much energy in trying to record everything the speaker is saying that we do't really pay attention to the value of what he has spoken. In listening, we tend to focus on what is being said, without reading into the subtext and deeper meanings. Beckett was a proponent of a method of writing where there was no deeper meaning. If the audience or reader found some, it was of their own invention. Beckett, I think, realized this ephemeral nature of memory and the way people pay attention. He wanted his audience to focus on what was being said, for everything he wanted them to know was right there, no further study needed. Incidently,  the day we spent on Beckett in Form/Analysis 2 was not on the meaing of the play but past productions that have altered the set and stage directions, angering Beckett because artistic license had obscured what he was trying to do.

"data can be recovered from media even under the most extraordinary conditions" (xii)

Don't I know this feeling. The hardrive crash of early March sent me into a panic, for most of my work at the university was preserved on that little black box. I started to think, "oh my god, what about all the stuff I had thrown away? I have no hard copies of that! What am I going to do!" Thankfully, I remembered that since I don't have a printer of my own, I had emailed every document to myslef at one point in time. Thank god for yahoo email. Luckily, CIT was able to recover all my word documents. The DvD-R is sitting locked up and protected in my room as we speak. I never want to have that feeling again. Back up your documents. Always email them to yourself, and print out a hard-copy as well as saving it to your thumb-drive.

"Information technology is among the most reliable content domains on Wikipedia, given the high interest of such topics among Wikipedia's readership and the consequent scrutiny they tend to attract" (xvii)

If this is so, then why are we not allowed to use wikipedia articles as sources for research papers? It is because of the fact that even though there are citations, many articles can still be falsified. There are topics in wikiepedia that not as many people care about as others. Popular subjects are fact-checked more often. Thus, a profile on an American Idol contestant would probably be more reliably than one on, say, the ingrdients of paint. But the editorial hisotry helps keep us aware that the article may or may not have been tampered with. the problem with wikipedia is that anyone can make an entry, expert or not.

"the smaller storage sizes of physical media make some of the close readings and forensic explorations in the book practical" (8)

I'm going to use a crude example from Writing About Lit. We had to read, among other works, Jane Eyre and Howl. Due to the enormous content of "Jane," we were not able to analyze the book as much as many of us would have liked to. Howl, on the other hand, was only a couple of pages long. re-reading was feasible in the time frame that we had. My blog on Howl was much longer than any of the ones on Jane Eyre had been. Due to the small nature of the work, we were able to probe. It probably would have taken the entire semester to analyze "Eyre" then we had "Howl."

will someone please explain to me what e-waste is?

The conversion

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WM Lesser: The Conversion

Section 1: the problems with e-mail

"it replace long distance phone calls!" (227)

"how could you be sure that someone wouldn't sneak through the email door?" (227)

"what was the good of a technologocal form that erased the boundary between intimate friends and total strangers, reducing everyone to a digital printout?" (227)

"I was persuaded that thise snippets of generic e-mail clipped from the bulletin boards of the internet represented what my own friends would sound like if I had to talk to them by computer. I wrongly supposed that the machine controlled its own content, that the medium would...be the message" (228)

Lesser had a fear that she would lose the intimate relationship with her friends because of the generic nature of e-mail. Yes, there are emoticons, but they are generic emotions. Like I said in my last presentation, what we say is only part of what we communicate. Emotion, verbal intensity, and physical presence (body language) are all factors in communication. E-mail is of good use if you are not such an eloquent speaker. You can hide behind it. There is no nervousness visibly present in an email; observable nervousness can be a form of noise and distraction that can hinder communication. That emotional intensity that connected with people is what Lesser was afraid she would lose. From the examples she had seen, email was just a series of snippets. No longer, she feared would there be any real conversation of everyone started using email. Conversations would become fragmented and disconnected. Part of maintaining friendships is actually spending time with friends, not just emailing. There is so much that is forgotten when typing an email or speaking over the phone. The second you physically see the other person, thoughts and memories instantly come back to you; their appearance can trigger a certain memory (i.e. "I remember the last time you wore that shirt, we were driving and then got lost, and then....hahahah etc).

Section 2: the barrier

"when you have something important to say, you're much more likely to pick up the telephone" (229)

Not necessarily.  There are times when something important is best communicated through email. Say you are afraid to ask a prfessor a wuestion reguardng a grade. out offear, you decline asking the question because you do not want to sense the anger and dissapointment that you expect. Fear, you may feel, is a sing of weakness. Email distances and protects you. Once out of the realm of danger, you can remain calm while still communicating the main message.

I am a naturally emotional person; I cry very easily and get upset over a lot of things. Maybe my loose emtions are due to my theatrical background, maybe because I'm a perfectionist and want to get everything right the first time. When I have something important to say, I have to examine the factors: can what I say hurt the other person? is what they are going to say upset me?

If I know what they say is going to upset me, I use the safeguard of email, because I have a hard time composing myself. I recall a horrendous fight I had with my boyfriend the night before Christmas on the Hill. I just walked away from him when I started crying. Once back in my room for a few hours to calm down, I was able to compose a very eloquent electronic letter, via facebook, to him. All the things I had wanted to say but couldn't get out were communicated.

Email can be a mask.

The problem with email is that due to the absence of all those extra-verbal/textual elements, words can be misunderstood. There are no other factors to aid in communication, whereas when you are speaking with a person face-to-face, there can be instant clarification.

Section 3: the conversion aftermath

"soon we were up to three or four times a day" (230)

"I became an email maniac, checking in every hour or so and collapsing with dissapointment if I got the empty-mailbox beep" (231)

"you have to consider before engagin in any communication whether you want to hear from someone as well as speak to him, because he will therefore possess your address...if you launch a missive, you automatically open yourself up to a counterattack" (231)

I remember when I first got a myspace. I became a little excited every time a person commented on my site. Ibgean checking it every hour or so, a tad of dissapointment filling me every time I didn't see that "new messages" bulletin. I guess the comments give people an assurance that they were important enough to receive them. The addiction fades as you adjust to the new technology.

incidently, how many people still use myspace?

One of the benefits to oral communication is that there is nothing tangible in it to hold onto, only memory. Words fade with time, but an email can remain as long as you want to keep it. It can become a reference point or evidence. There is no taking back an email; once its out there, its out there for good. You need to be careful what you put in an email. Moreover, if you just talk to a person and don't give them any contact information, they have no way of reaching you. If you pick a fight over email, the other person can contact you until you delete or block your account. You also have to be careful about who you contact: do you want to hear from them again? Chances are, you might.


Bentham in the MUD

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"pneumatique was the favored medium for love letters, significant apologies, or requests for an important meeting. ...the handwritten pneumantique bore the trace of the physical body of the person who sent it; it was physically taken from that person's hand and put into the hand of the person to whom it was sent" (480-481) WM Turkle

This exactly the stuff I am going to Paris this summer to observe for my capstone. Do Parisians value the personal over the efficient? It appears that in America, it is the other way around. Many only seem to care that the message is delivered, not how. Information has to be communicated; it doesn't matter how. My stdu will consists of observations and a study of architecture and what it says about Europe versus America. Does America care more about effieciency than aesthetic beauty?-this is my research question.

"one can only guess at the effect upon viewers of these hyperactive images, aside from fixating attention on the television set...they must surely...contribute to the...inability to absorb information that comes muddling along at natural, real-life speed" (481)

I never thought of it that way. I always though parents were concerned about their kids spending too much time in front of the television because that was time that could be spent on homework. I never thought that TV could affect a child's ability to take in information. An interesting study could be done where kids who spent too much time in front of the TV were given electronic hypertexts to study with. Could the fact that the information was much faster and readily availible than a paper textbook solve the learning problem?

"down here [in the MUD] I see friends, I have something to offer, I see safe sex" (482)

Does anyone see the irony in this statement. In the MUD makes me think of the phrase "in the gutter", a slum where 'safe sex' is highly unlikely. True, there is no physical harm here, but it makes you think. Back then, the myspace world did not exist. Many girls have encountered predators through myspace; I have even heard of some being murdered. Risk and danger evolved with technology I guess.

"enabled a prison guard to see all prisoners without being seen...prisoners would have to assume they were being observed and would therefore behave according to the norms that the guard would impose" (490)

Bentham proposed the Pan Opticon because of the disaterous results of the industrial revolution. The factory workers had been driven out of their jobs because they were obsolete. The people, with no discernable skills, were thrown into big cities. Temptation proved to be powerful and many people turned to drugs and alcohol to escape. Did these MUD's become 'demon gin' for the people described in the text, the people who found themselves unable to survive that way that they dreamed?


The Trivialist in me

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Aarseth 5,6,7,8,9

"a paradigm of collaborative authorship on the Net: one person gets an idea, writes a program releases it...somewhere else another person picks it up, improves it, adds new ideas, and rereleases it. Most of the time they do not meet" (99-100).

Gives me an idea for an experiment: I write the first page of a story and then send it out to a random person. They write another page, then pass it on to another. I wonder how disconnected (or not) the final product would be? Would the others follow the plot line I had laid down? Maybe we could try this in class.

"once an action has been identified,  the program changes the database and displays a message about the outcome, until the player quits the game, wins, or "dies" and must start again" (100)

Is this anything like the really old version of Oregon Trail from when we were in elementary school? I remember there being little to no graphics. So far, this is my understanding of interactive fiction.

"creating a version is mainly a matter of editing and then recompiling a program file; the end result can be as similar or different from the oroginal as the programmer wants" (100-101)

as an artist, if you want to call the original programmer that, I would be bothered by the fact that so many people are altering by work. My work would seem somehow ungratifying if people were changing it. Who gets credit for the creation of the game? everyone or no one? and don't copyright laws at all fit into this?

"in a literal sense, there is no text, nothing that could be put on a shelf and pointed to as the source of roughly similar experiences by readers" (106)

after you're done, what is left? just the computer program. There is no record of your accomplishments, nothing you could refer to in the future (except perhaps your memory). I guess since every experience with the game is different, it wouldn't make much sense to have a textual record of the game. In my experience with games, I have played those that only have a linear plot and a set group of tasks to complete (Zelda, Pokemon-and this was a long time ago). It's kind of disheartening that after all the hours you put into the game, there is nothing left over. I'd rather read a novel.

"for the trivialists, this will never happen; adventure games are games-they cannot be taken seriously as literature nor attain the level of sophistication of a good novel" (107)

Right now, this is how I feel. I have never played an adventure game; this is probably the reason why I cannot fully appreciate their value. Maybe that will change during Writing for the Internent.

"the semantic gaps int the text that the reader must fill, to bring the "literary work into existence" (110).

so the author need us to complete his work, or maye he just wants to see what the human imagination will do with his outline.

"narrative plto is also something that is only discovered or reconstructed by the reader after the end is reached" (112)

When reading a novel, you are very aware that you are reading a narrative, mostly due to the fact that all characters are referred to in the third person, distancing you from the action of the story. In an interactive game, you are in the story, so it is only on reflection do you realize the narrative plot that occured. Kind of reminds be or Aristotle, who said that only on reflection do we realize we were happy.

"the player of an adventur game is not guaranteed that the events thus far are at all relevant to the solution of the game" (112)

I really want to try this experiment of multiple writers to see if the end result does exhibit some coherencey.

"a typical adventure game is not mastered by being read once but by being played over and over, as the way we reread a great and complex novel" (114)

There is no way that you can appreciate a great novel or play without rereading it several times. I have read Hamlet about 4 times, and there were new discoveries each time I read it. Once you have a full comprehension of what is said, you can being search for why it was said and why events happened. The first read is just a familiarization.

" to that eternal whoever-it-is who ultimately controls every program we use and who is...driving us crazy with its irrational behavior...an unwelcomed devil in real life but a pleasure-giving Mephistopheles in the cybertext" (120)

another reference I understand! Who hasn't become furious at their computer and kicked and/or screamed curses at it? When the computer misbehaves and malfunctions, it infuriates us, but we praise it whenever it functions the way we want it to. Faustus used the devil for his convience but becomes infuriated when the deal he made doesn't turn out the way he planned.  

"episodic...the puzzles often have to be dealt with in order..and have little or no relevance to each other once they are out of the way" (124)

This quote ties right into a play we read in Form and Analysis 2 called "Mother Courage and Her Children" by Brecht. Each scene takes place years after the last one, making the story seem disconnected. But I think that the reader was meant to fill in the years between with interrpretation.

"Narcissism is a necessary element in the artistic process, as is self-reflectin and self-criticism"

Boy, does that quote hit the nail of this class on the head. The first draft is never the finished product. It is only when we re-read our writing can we see our flaws and hope to improve ourselves. Otherwise, we are stuck in a kind of literary narcissism, a problem I have been trying to overcome with my writing assigments for EL 336. I realize that while I may see the connections and transitions in my head. others do not think the way I do. I therfore must alter my writing style so that my ideas and arguments are feasible to everyone.

"record her saying seemingly innocent sentences. They then edit the recording to reconstruct the phrases they want and, equipped with four casette players, call up the target" (130)

Evidently, Woody Allen had a great influence over all artisitc mediums, because I remembe this gag from a episode of 'Alvin and the Chipmunks.'

"human playrights...do not have to improvise the action on the run; much less do they have to put up with a main character with a will of its own" (139)

a play cannot be generated and be instantly ready for production. Rehearsal are conducted not only so that the actors can learn what they will be doing, but for the playright to see that is and isn't wroking with the staging and language. A computer therefore cannot write a masterpiece.

"virtual interaction loses emotional and social meaning when transposed to a computer file and re-read" (147)

The value in these games is not the actual words (I'm hesitant to call it text because the meaing of the word has been muddled throughout this book) but in the action. You can't expect to get the same effect from a transcipt of a sports announcer than you would had you actually attended the game.

"Like the plays of Shakespeare...MUD sessions are texts. They are to be experienced subjectively and can provide meaning without the absoltue need for staging, although it usually helps" (149)

This is true. Last semester, I read Hamlet for two classes, one of which focused solely on the text. The theater class I read it for envisoned the play as literature and a work to be staged. Through this combination, I was able to make a discovery that I found a multitude of evidence for in the text. 

 funny selections from the reading, some of whcih result from the fact that the book was written in 1997:

"multipath movies like the current Hollywood CD-ROM productions" (102)

"section 204D, paragraph 7.6 of the connecticut police code of conduct specifically prohibits kissing suspects" (123)

"player: thank you

 voice: whaever do you have to be thankful for?" (126)

"when a novelist marries a poet, their children are fictionally poetic" (133)-*groan, rolls eyes*

"MUD has come to stand for Multi-Undergraduate Destroyer, in recognition of the number of students who may have failed their classes due to too much time spent MUDing" (143)

"lies back on ol' lynxie poodle muffkins" (155)

"really because it is so really really really really big and large and huge and giant" (155)







portfolio 2- Print and Digital

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The following is a collection of the second round of blog entries for EL 336: History and Future of the Book at Seton Hill University. Since the last portfolio, the class has moved the focus on manuscript and oral culture to print and digital culture.

This class takes a lot of work because some of the books, mainly Cybertext, are on subjects that I am not familiar with at all. These blog entries serve to demonstrate my comprehension and thoughts on the assigned reading material. In addition to these blog entries, there is a paper due about every two weeks whcih seeks to synthesize the readings.

Also, I manage to work Harry Potter into almost every blog entry.

Covergae/Timeliness: all subjects were covered, all entries were on time

Three in One

Spoiled: Frederick Douglas

Sentiments on "If On a Winter's Night a Traveler": ????????

Fonzie and Harry

A Little Egotistical

Necessary Separation


The Value of the Paper Airplane

The Dementor's Kiss

Grasping at Straws

Interactions: these inspired deep thoughts from other classmates

A Little Egostistical-link isn't working

Super Retraction

The Dementor's Kiss

Depth: intellectual rants

Super retraction

The Value of the Paper Airplane

The Dementor's Kiss

Grasping at Straws



 WM Douglas

Calvino Ch. 6


EL-336 Aarseth-CYBERTEXT. The Great Space Coaster

EL 336: Sitting Waiting Willing-link isn't working

EL 336 McLuhan 91-180 Weight Lifting is for Barbarians

EL-336. Orwell-1984. I always feel like, somebody's watching me, and I got no privacy


Peanut Gallery


EL 336 Orwell Parts 1 & 2


grasping at straws

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I'm going to be honest: I have never heard of interactive fiction games or hyper text. The last thing I played remotely similar was Sonic the Hegehog 2 on Genesis and Mario Party 3 on N 64. I'm sure I'll learn all about it next semester. Here it goes:


"a reader, however strongly engaged in the unfolding of a marrative...he is not a player...he can study and interrpret the shifting...but he is not free  to move the tracks in a different direction. He cannot have the player's pleasure of influence: Let's see what happens when I do this" (4)

Wouldn't you love to have some say in what happened in a story. We all have favorite books, but I'm sure that there are parts that you would have liked to change. There are so many things I would have liked to change about Deathly Hallows or Les Mis. An interactive book would not be as extreme as a fanfiction: some of those are off-canon. Instead, each time you read the book, subtle tweaks would be made to alter the story, while still having some plot, however wavy the linear line may be.

"Even in highly subversive narratives, such as the novels of Samuel Beckett or Italo Calvino's If on a Winter's Night a Traveler...(1993), the reader is faced, topologically, with a unicursal maze" (7) 

The accursed novel reemerges to haunt us. Having read the section on labyrinths, I'm wondering if we were assigned the Calvino reading in preparation for the digital culture section of the course...

"any college dropout can pass as a learned scholar, quoting the classics without having read any of them" (11)

With the instant availibilty comes increased faking of knowledge and plagarism. I remember in Rock n Roll class sophmore year in high school, thsi kid wrote a brilliant paper. The paper consisted of copy-and-pasted sections of various websites. The teacher found this out within an hour. Of course, the fact that he hadn't changed the font from any of the sites didn't help either.

"Eliza could imitate a Rogerian psychoanalyst...it used the information given by its human "clients" to make them believe  that it somehow "understood" their situations" (12)

this is a really weird connection: I remember years ago watching an episode of "The Facts of Life" where Jo talked to a computer called Eliza about dealing with Blair. I think it was called "Dear Apple"

"potentially disruptive effects of media transitions have seldom been an issue" (15)

wrong. so wrong. This entire class trumps this comment.

"the exotic hardware of the shiny new technologies, like CD-ROM" (16)

ha ha ha. Well, the book was written in 1997

"you can't take it to bed with you is the sensuous (but no longer true)" (16)

I've definately sat in my bed and read online documents and stories. Computers keep getting smaller and more convienient. You can access PDF's on your phone now.

"a reader peruses a string of words, and depending on the reader's subsequent actions, the significance of those words may be changed...The act of re-reading is a crucial example: the second time we read a text, it is different, or so it seems" (19)

Whenever I get a new fiction book, I'm extremely anxious to find out what happens in it. As a result, I tend to speed through, missing small but nevertheless interesting details. I re-read Deathly Hallows over spring break, and what I remembered from way back in July was only an inkling of the story. I missed so many details (and funny lines). It isn't the same with a book you have to read for class. You go into the book knowing that you will be questioned on the material, so you make sure to pay extra close attention.

"One such system is the game Lemmings" (37)

This is the first reference I understood other than Calvino. i'm assuming everyone else has had Writing for the Internet and gets these references? I had Lemmings on Genesis. They were cute.

"a fiction is a portrayal of invented events or characters, usually in the form of prose...constructed in a way that invites rather than dispels belief. A successful fiction must, therefore, in one sense be interactive, just as a lie needs a believer in order to work" (50)

It's interesting to think that books need us. Without a reader, they'd just be paper. They'd just be potential.

*and in case you were wondering, I am going to create a Harry Potter interactive game in Writing for the Internet, with a focus on the labyrinth scene in Goblet of Fire*