Recently in EL 232 Category

Beckett Hill Manor Presentation

I have been working on one of the most difficult tasks I had to do in this class. That is to create a game on a program that I'm not familiar with. I'm a little disappointed that I couldn't make NPC's, but I think I got around it. Nevertheless, I feel confident that this is a game that could be enjoyed. I hope you enjoy the game as much I did creating it:

Imagine all of the possible worlds that could be out there...
Imagine what someone would do to fine them...

A well-known physics professor and an eccentric historian (and owner of the mansion) experments on opening gateways to other worlds. You are a student coming to a Colorado mansion to assist in this endeavor. However, everything isn't what it seems. Both the professor and the owner has dissapear and you must discover what happened in the walls of Beckett Hill Manor. Explore the lavish mansion to discover the secrets of the outer worlds. Beware of the traps set inside to stop you. DIscover the horrifying truth of what the experiments had brought forth to this world.

That was my little in-world session. The changes I've made to the from the Beta version could be summed up by this list:

1. Clearly identifying my surroundings and objects
2. The uses of the objects and how it is important to the story line
3. More interactive setting
4. Clearer story line.

I don't want to say too much by giving the ending.

You Can't Take Everything


When Aja Hannah tested my game, a few things were going through my mind. She stated that most of her problems stemmed from the fact that she was confused on where to go. Granted, the second floor wasn't finished yet, but her confusion prompted me to change the locations of the rooms and make them easier to go into. I also noticed that she was taking everything that wasn't nailed down (fridges and bookcases). I had to make them scenery and made it more interactable.

Here are something that I want to continue:

Add more NPG's (a difficult tasks)
Finish the upstairs rooms.
Tie the plotline more throughly into the game.

As I continue to make may way through Inform 7, I began to encounter some problems. Well... I don't want to say problems, more like snags. I would be able to go forward if I knew how to do certainly complete some of these particular phrase and actions.

For example, I want to make a NPG talk and have the player start the conversation. Afterward the man would leave. I need to know how I can make NPG's appear once. However, the wording to the actions rack my brain.

I also would like the player to die after drinking a potion. But I can even make the potion drinkable or have the game ended. It seems that simplicistic actions need a lot of direction. I've tried reading that confusing manual. The examples in it is a litttle bit vague and/or confusing to the problems that I have to solve for the sake of this project.

I still want to make the house as interactive as possible and have the objects drive the plot of the story. If you can help me, I will be in your debt. I still feel excited about this project.

Studying the rise of horror/science fiction IF games (Slouching Towards Bedlam and Shrapnel), I've decided to create a game using that mold. I'm on the verge of writing some of the terms and characters that will be very important to the plot of "Beckett Hill Manor". This is an idea that I had came upon while completing an IF exercise in class. In fact, I have completed the first floor of the mansion that the game will be based in. The exact details of the plotline I do not want to put in this progress report, for fear that it could can due to the difficult that Inform 7 choose to give me. However, I will give the inspirations that proppeled my to create this horror IF game.

Last semester, I took a class called "Horror and Suspense Writing", I was interesting in the concepts and the stories in that class. I know that writing about a haunted house is a little cliche even in the IF world. Nevertheless, this is a chance for me to take a different approach to this convention. I plan to use intergalatic instead of supernatural forces to push the plot forward and created tension. Think more along the lines of H.P. Lovecraft than Stephen King. The stories that I plan to use as inspirations are similiar to The Call of Cthulhlu, where the reader is taken through a journey to discover a powerful inetergalatic being capable of devouring worlds.

The focus of this story is the house itself. I plan to have the environment be as interactive as I could possibly make it. Similiar to Shrapnel, I will make the environment into a character itself, making decisions on what to do with the player. It may take clever writing to pull it off, be we will see what happens.   

I was informed that I should start in a single room to ensure that I'm not biting off more than I can chew. The thinks that I could most likely work on is how to make things happen only once, for I could make characters react to certain things that could advance the plot. It is possible that it could be a issue for me, since this is the first time that I have used Inform 7. That is the reason that I plan to try out an IF game.



Hats Off to Mr. Krug

I really enjoyed the contents of this book. I think that without it this class would be hard enough. The only problem I had with the book (and it had been stated in class) that is was a little outdated as far as the websites are concerned. I think that when someone is teaching usability, it is essential to get to the chase. After all that is what users usually do when they click onto a website, right?

Usability testing could possibly make the internet a less painful place to search through. I reminded of that exercise that we had to do in class. When we critiqued those websites, my jaw hit the floor. I think that it is beneficial to use this information, even if they are not a professional.

The Path is Forged

I think I've learned a great deal in this class. I'm really excited about my term project and I think this are the tools that I could use to help with that project. Nevertheless, I wish I had more time on the project than I know i'm going to have.  

Krug's Blog

Hats Off to Mr. Krug


"Bad Homepage, Naughty Homepage!"

Facebook is similiar to most homepages, all they do is confuse.

Are the Pilliars Cracking

How the five rules of Wikipedia are failing Wikipedia.


Edition to the Two Pages

My Wikipedia workshop results.

Maybe It's Your Fault

Wikipedia's force on research and academia.

Trying to Reinvent the Wheel

How design could affect a website.


"Bad Homepage, Naughty Homepage!"

This lesson started a conversation.


As The Lab Rats Scurry...I'm Trying To Counted Them

This sparked a discussion inside the classroom about the quantitative information of usability testing.

Look At All The Lovely Users

This also sparked a discussion inside the classroom about the educational benefits of usability testing.


Denamarie Ercolani

Wikipedia Edits

I was interested in her WIkipedia project.

Andrew LoNigro

Things to think about not thinking

Andy had his own little opinions about web designing.

Edition to the Two Pages


Yesterday, I made editions to the two pages of Wikipedia. One of them is the page about the 1989 film Glory and I added information about the health benefits of apple juice. In the Glory article, the soundtrack was briefly discussed, and I added a few details about the particular soundtrack. I remember this soundtrack being mentioned in much more detail, but some of the information was erased for some reason. That reason was never elaborated in the discussion pages in the article. I re-entered the information that was missing in that section and so far I did not get a response to the change.  

That is one of the flaws about Wikipedia, when a change is made it is hard to figure out who made it and why. However, any expert in any field could most likely be a part of the site. Wikipedia could be used as a forum to share proven and widely heralded theories. With that kind of research there is a definite need of proof.

On the apple juice page, I entered the website that I found the information on. I wanted to be a positive part to the article of my site by allowing my changes to be challenged. On this article, I'm allowing my findings to be peer reviewed in a way that no academic journal goes through.     

Examining The Skeleton

Before I was given this assignment, I was a little confused about the structure of Wikipedia and how it recieve its articles. I noticed how the Seton Hill and St. Vincent article is built on the national attention and the history of the colleges. What I'm not suprised about is the bickering on what should be on the article by the people who edit them. This is one reason why citing Wikipedia is impossible. Even though there is a discussion about what is changed, there is never a consensus about what's change. Seton Hill's information about potential conservative bias has always been a problem and, according to the article's history, being a catalyst for an editing war.

Consesus in some way, shape, or form should be encourged. Hence the reason why only peer-reviewed articles are the prime sort of information.

Are the Pilliars Cracking?

I would like to comment on the pilliars that Wikipedia uses as their support for the articles being produced.

I. Wikipedia is a Encyclopedia:
I think about all of the times,as a freshman, I tried to use an encyclopedia to recieve information and fell flat on my fact. Trivial knowledge doesn't help me at all. All students need more bredth so they can not only learn but reflect. An encyclopedia/Wikipedia article is only meant to fuel the fires of knowledge, making a student expand on their search.

II. Wikipedia has a neutral point of view:
True. Wikipedia's encyclopedia-style format is in need of neutrality. At the same token, their are pathetic people out there who will destroy an article about a politician they hate to make an agenda. Wikipedia, with all of its flaws, is the original point of knowledge. With experience and discovery, one should have an opinion about any particular subject. Wikipedia is not a place to argue them.

III. Wikipedia is free content:
The meaning of free content means that anyone under the sun can write about nuclear fusion. I think that free content of information (even trivia) is a big risk, for that Wikipedia is allowing potential lawsuits to for each article being written. It is stated that "any writing you contribute can be mercilessly edited and redistributed at will by the community." Hope that every single one of them are experts.

IV. Wikipedia has a code of conduct:
Really? It does? Wow! Due to the Seigenthaler scandel with Wikipedia, I really thought that it was the Wild West of the World Wide Web...anything goes. They beg on us not to interupt Wikipedia for a point, yet people do it all the time just to prove that they could do it.

V.Wikipedia does not have firm rules
That is why Wikipedia is struggling to keep itself decent. Research (even trival) needs structure to prevent miscommunication.

Maybe It's Your Fault

Wikipedia has tried hard in recent years to relieve themselves from as much responsibility as possible. That is simply because they gave up "quality as an issue". The whole act of research into make a claim by using respectable information. Now, how respectable can the information be when anyone can change the contents as they see fit. Anyone could make Einstien into a Catholic bishop and the Confederacy to win the Civil War by a few clicks and a few taps of the keyboard.

There is one thing that I don't understand about the people who use wikipedia as research is that how could they trust a source that could be easily altered. That is why university libraries spend thousands of dollars on buying academic journals, so we can trust them. It has gone through trial after trial by experts to give to a knowledge hungry public. But in some respects, we have to take responsibility on the information that we use, since Wikipedia isn't doing it.

How can they? Wikipedia is always changing. In the Spiro article, it is stated that "since Wikipedia is constantly undergoing revisions, it is too unstable to cite". It is similair to a choppy sea, unable to sail through it. Even though they are starting to freeze articles that has been vetted and check, you don't know which ones, so it's hard to cite. But it could be vetted and checked by those with malicious intent, right? So how can you trust Wikipedia for in-depth can't. If you are in desperate need of information for a paper and use WIkipedia and get it wrong, it is only you you have to blame.

The Sales Pitch

Being the salesman that he is, Krug entices the readers to use the information that helps with web design. I really learned a lot from this book about what to do in creating websites. I think that the end of the book seems to be a pat on his back from himself. He emphasizes that you should know what you are doing before you even think about doing it. Web designing is an exact science to some degree, you have to know your audience and what they want. The website itself is supposed to be the sales pitch on a way to make a website and what you can do to make it better.

Look At All The Lovely Users


I think that it is necessary to say that all of the sucess that a website could ever get is through happy users. The only way you can know about a user's happiness is through usability testing. There is nothing wrong with testing, think of it as a form of constructive criticism that all of us must endure. Krug describes how usability tests are an "iterative process", like a revision of a manuscript. However, I think that we have a luxary that professional web desigeners do not have. We have the ability to make a coalition of testing forces through the sake of education. When out in the real world, these tests churn out a lot of dollars, even at the discounted price of $300 will cause problems for us. That is how important opinion is to the web. Without it, the would not be a clear standard when it comes to websites.

I was really curious about usability testing and how it affects designers in creating their websites. What I'm confused about was the table under number 2 (Plan to Quantify Your Results). I do not think that it is possible to add a quantitative value on the usefulness of websites. I do not see the necessity for using quantitative value on the usefulness of websites. Is it just for the measurement of improvement? Is it for something more? I really don't know how numbers can help HTML and homepages. Is this the "move beyond opinion" that I need for the usability testing?  

All I need is answers to these questions that haunted me all weekend.



"Bad Homepage, Naughty Homepage!"


The fact that we don't have total control of the most fundamental part of our websites gave me a new perspective. While reading this chapter, I understood that because of this reason we have to make a homepage accessible to all. Web designers attitudes on the real audience "getting it" is one of the prime reasons why people don't get it.

Sometimes, a designer just has to go back to basics in order to truly see sucess in their websites. Krug said it himself: "I need to be able to answer these questions at a glace, correctly and unambiguosly, with very little effort." (99) We get entranced with our ability to create the best website that we forgot that it has to mean something. The homepage not only boils the whole website down to simplicity, it will work against the designer if he/she fails to do their job. It's like a dog biting its master for placing his hand in its food bowl. You would think that a person with common sense would play with a dog while it's eating. But you will be surprised how many people do it often. Your website loves you, but it has to do what it is design to do, to portray the information that you give it. And if you give it unclear thoughts and details, it will bit you (by that I mean the users will reject it). 

The California Queen herself said in her blog that "if something is unclear to the user, it might be possible that the user will misinterpret something and/or get frustrated."

Why on earth should they stay on your website if they are confused on the homepage?

I think back to the advice that I remember from writing class that I have taken: "kill your darlings". Harsh, right? But we should break out of our little bubble if we want to make sure that our readers get it.


Mindless Wandering

These chapters really hit home with the title of the book. The more someone thinks about a webpage, the more problems a reader can run into.

I really enjoyed Krug's Second and Third Law of Usability

The Second Law states that "It doesn't matter how many times I have to click, as long as each click is a mindless, unambigous choice."

Exploration of a website isn't exactly a bad thing. As long as users know where they are, confusion won't be a problem. In a world of choices, a designer should think about eliminating those choices. That eliminates the chance for a new user to make the wrong choice. To be truthful, I really don't think about those things much but maybe the designers knew what they were doing.

The Third Law states that we should "Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what's left"

As writers, we should learn how to communicate using as little words as possible. Most websites, with exception of news sites, aren't appealing to most people. Since we've been writing HTML, we've been taught less is better. Krug describes what exactly we can cut out. I always feel the need to give an introduction, which is unneccessary in this particular case.

I think all of these facts are essential to perform one please the user. As long as the user is happy, the website will thrive.

Trying to Reinvent the Wheel


According to Krug, simplicity is key. Yet, many designers out there are out to make a name for themselves as they design flashy websites. Most people get lost in the murkiness of the design or conventions that the designer choose to use. Krug stated that these designers do not take advantage of what is already there for them (conventions) and "feel they have been hired to do something new". That begs me to ask this question:

What is more important? The presentation of the website or the presentation of the content of the site?

Since the content is something that the user has to force themselves through, then the content should be as clear and as porcise as possible. I found it interesting of the truth of the statement "We don't read pages. We scan them." In this extremely fast paced world of ours, designers (especially of news websites) forget that a user will NOT read every single word on a page, but instead will look for the things that will catch their attention (and no not making every word attractive will help). Because we live in a fast paced world, we seem to settle with what is CLOSE to what we want. The websites are the same way, and by making the choices clear, we can make sites not as confusing as they sometimes are.   

In A 16k World...

When I read the blog entry, I noticed how critically you had to think when playing these games. Adventureland, show the point on how gaming technology had started. These game were orginally created for home computers, not technology geeks (even though they probably enjoyed it.). I thnk I can understand why there was such an emphasis on what verbs and nouns you used in the game. In a 1998 interview, Adams was asked what was his dream as a child, and he simply answered: be a writer. That interested me. I was really interested to know the writers place in the gaming industry. An article in stated that:

One skill that is crucial, besides writing ability, to success in the game industry is passion. If you don't enjoy games or are unfamiliar with the latest technology, then you'll find the gaming world unfriendly. If you want to learn more about video games, buy or rent a console and a few game magazines. Don't try to break into this industry if you're simply looking for work; most video game writers take the jobs , first and foremost, because they enjoy the work.

Writers are thrusting themselves in the corners of technology. The need for them is just as great as in past years.   

In The Fall of the Site of Marsha, an actual website goes through horrific changes as the fears and the tragedies of its creator, Marsha, are realized. The readers of her website, in some way, see the unconscious mind of Marsha. Since the mind of Marsha can be easily tied to the website, each of the three parts of the website could be the stages of psychoanalytical theory; the spring of ’98 as the ego, the summer of ’98 as the superego, and the fall of ’98 as the id.

I noticed how an extreme love of angels defines her ego. She uses this love to hide from the pain and the anguish of the loss of her father. If you look at certain parts of the websites, you can see a normal person talking about her life and her husband on the web. However, as in Fortune's Wheel, one's life could end up on the bottom.

As the months go on, the website goes through erratic changes. It could be a litany of things that could be responsible for the "hackers", but it matches the mood of the creator. You may notice the clouds getting darker in the background and obscene phrases scratched. Marsha is haunted by the death of her father, which may imply that she was somehow involved. Her anger must have hit a tipping point when she was unable to see the picture of her husband cheating on her with Bits. There must be a swarm of hatred and problems around her her head and the webpage reflects that notion. Her superego are now links turning into pockets of guilt and discoveries of betrayal.

Now the irrational, wild meltdown of the creator is seen in the fall of that year. The "hackers" now are in control of not only the website, but her entire life. The fact that she gave up with the website could mean that she gave up on her life in general. One part of this theory is if one looks at the threads of the Private Door, Marsha's response to Mike are becoming erratic. Each part of the website, each beatiful image is becoming distorted and confusing just like the Id of the human mind. Freud had dwelled extensively on this subject:

It is the dark, inaccessible part of our personality, what little we know of it we have learnt from our study of the dream-work and of the construction of neurotic symptoms, and most of this is of a negative character and can be described only as a contrast to the ego. We all approach the id with analogies: we call it a chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations ... It is filled with energy reaching it from the instincts, but it has no organization, produces no collective will, but only a striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle

The beastly actions of human nature cannot be translated to a sophisticated art form such as web design. Therefore you cannot see an order within the website as the reasoning began to wash away.        

The Devil in the HTML

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One of the "e-lit" that caught my attention is The Fall of the Site of Marsha. A visual spiral of a woman's life in turmoil. Marsha's love of angels is only matched by the happiness of her life. However, as her website gets more distorted, her sorrow seem to materialize into another character that is actually controlling the website. Marsha's angels turn into demons as her father died and her husband cheated on her with her best friend. Messages are plauging as if they are in her head themselves, due to the fact that those nasty quotes are crossed out and not erased:

Leave my website ALONE! nice try, marsha

I can't take it ANY MORE! I DID NOT hurt my father!!!! you don't get off the hook that easily, marsha

This is also an online struggle of self, as well as a struggle against the supernatural. We never find out who exactly is hacking into Marsha's website and it makes it all the more creepier. 


Get Clickin'

Sidenote: Sarah Palin has convinced me to drop the "g" from verbs.

Back to the topic at hand. I've dipped my hand into some of the electronic literature and I have to tell you that it is a unique experience. I believe that this form of literature is meant for the abstract. I mean that I probably have a felling that not a lot of people are going to get the messages of some of these stories because they are not presented in a linear format. Some of the "e-lit" are presented without the luxary of text, such as Deviant. Others are given to us as phony websites, like The Fall of the Site of Marsha. And then we have the one, like Tao, that basically gives one us statement. Nevertheless this sites have meaning that we have to plow through to enjoy. If we can do that, we can understand any medium of art.


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In order to understand some stories, the reader must it break down to basic elements (plot, characters, etc). In this case, it is a woman's body that is being broken down for the purpose to be examined. The stories of each body part also works like a body part. Each story contribute to the larger story, the description.

By breaking this story down the body, the reader knows the character using the body. This way, there is a change in the character. She is able to understand herself and to accept her body for what it is. She accepts every quality of her body, but sometime goes back to revulsion:

I was induced to shave my underarm hair by my mother, I think, though I don't remember it. It was high school, I was playing sports, and I reeked. My dry, stainless, odorless child body had shivered all over and metamorphosed into a stinking, sweating, oozing hulk sprouting hair. I found myself disgusting.

As the character opens her body to examination, the reader in turn must examine themselves, that is if they intend to scrutinize the body.

Dichotomy of Sanity and Insanity

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In the University of Yellow Wallpaper, each link represent a feeling or thought that manefest from others. The site itself is a breakdown of structure, breaking all conventional rules of linear storytelling. This quote explains that approach:

A return is generally a going back; yet in this case the detour was already a going back, so that the return is a coming forward once again.

White uses the website to question how we read stories. It's similar to the movie Pulp Fiction, time is no longer an issue because the plot itself is scrambled. The audience is force to watch each scene, bit by bit, to get the gist of it at that particular moment.

The narrator is "getting mixed up" and therefore mixing the reader up with various links to other thoughts. "The pattern is torturing" to some who see fiction as a catalyst to real life (events happening in chronological order), instead of a world by itself. However, our minds when processing certain events seems to trancend time. People sometimes notices how time stops when they're in love or speed up when an unwanted scheduled event approaches. Those people are so suc in the moment, chronolical factor does not apply.

Creative Hypertext? Seriously?

How many times have I heard certain groups of people blasting creative writing thinking that it is never going to get them anywhere. The Heist is a way to use something that is technical and putting it into a creative lens. There was this one time that I tried to put my creative writing story on my blog (the same that Dr. Jerz mentioned in the first day of class). I guarantee that no one read it. I thought it was brilliant for Sorells to use the hypertext as a tool to further the story.

I searched around for other sites and I was surprised how much creative hypertext has hit the web.

Do you think the web is a good medium for creative writing?  


Four Points of the E-Corporate World

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I really love the orgainization of this book. In this chapter, Killian gave us four points of Coporate Webwriting.

I. Climbing the Webwriting Mountain
In the corporate world, it is necessary for the webreader to understand the website. Therefore, it is a necessity for the webwriter to know what they can do and what they can't do on the web. A lot of webwriter should know a little bit about HTML. A webwriter should basically be a jack of all trades. He/she should know strongly about the content, the company, and technology

II. Know Who You Are Talking To

Just like in any other type of writing, a webwriter should know the content they're writing via their audience. In corporate webwriting, Killian states that "a corporate site should reach a wide variety of readers without trying to be all thing to all people." For example, if the corporation is selling green technology (solar panels, windmills, etc) to companies, their websites doesn't have to have products for oil companies. However, they could have content on hove to slowly get of oil. Even though the site should be open to all, but have the interest of some.

III. Everyone Has A Part  

In a corporate world, there is no "i" in team. I know that is the worst cliche to write, but it is true. The corporate heads, the webwriters, and even the readers all have a part to promote a product or service. As webwriters Killian states that we must keep our "ego offstage and engage the reader on terms of equality." If the reading thinks that he/she is being jived, then that company will undoubtely lose a customer.

IV. Two's A Crowd

The business world is all about fighting for the top. When a group of people are writing a web site, just like a school project, they want to stand out from the group. When many webwriters from different expertise come together it get a little crazy. That is why I disagree with Killian about guidelines, without them no one would know where the line is.  

You Think STW Was Bad...


Online writing is indeed something that we should sharpen in order for readers understand our websites. I think that this chapter is just an online version of Seminar in Thinking and Writing. I learned a lot about reading levels and specific styles of web writing. I was interested that Killian had mentioned the Kincaid Reading Level test (I found it funny that I found an Wikipedia article that explains it in Simple English) . It is used as a way to get writer to understand how difficult it may be for people to read their site. 

Since webwriting is just another form of writing, all rules and guidlines apply. I should have brought my AP stylebook from home, because I guarantee you this chapter and that book is very similiar. In Journalism, everything must be simplfied and told quickly. Nevertheless, there are a bunch of websites out there that don't even know about these guidelines. Honestly, I didn't even know that they were these rules to follow.

Depending on which website you go to, there is a clear vision of what professionalism is. The first amendment protects the content of these websites but one shread of unprofessionalism would cause the website to lose its message.

Do you think that styles of writing should be promoted to all of these websites, personal or not?  

The Parting of Latin and Anglo

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After reading this part I understood the reason why the web writer would want to use Anglo-Saxon words. It is used in everyday speech and because the web is used by ordinary people as well as multi-linguist, intellectuals and computer geeks. Killian states that Anglo-Saxon words "are more immediate and understandable than Greco-Latin ones."

Understanding that English is a psychedelic blend of Greco-Latin and Anglo-Saxon words, I felt like I should be in STW class again writing papers. I agree with Andy on his skepticism of our need to use Anglo-Saxon words. I think that because of the language itself, it'll just be a pain making the content for websites.

Organize and Be Merry

There is an extreme necessity for organization when it comes to creating a website. Eyetrack III had taught us about how to use our content and make it practical for reading. Killian made me realize something:

Treat every page like a front page  

We have to understand that each page is a doorway to our site, and even though it may not be the homepage. Reading a website kind of reminded me of how I learned to read acedemic article. Find a specific part a read the parts around it, I would have never gotten through Literary Criticism. In my current topic entry, I debated Aja about how much time that we have about reading the archaic print newspapers. Web readers have no time and need a guidance to get through the webpage. 

I also learned about how I have to make websites adaptable to other media like print. I heard a lot in this class on how web will kill the print stars, yet the Web makes itself available to go backward in technology.  

Democracy Doesn't Work For All

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After listening to Allen Kukovich, I realized something. American voting system is extremely archaic and flawed. He stated that there is "more apathy than anything" and I think I know why. When politicians are elected their flawed humanity get the best of them. From the Federal government to city councils, the stench of corruption leaves no one untouched. And everyone wonders why we can't get anything done.

Sometimes we lose our priorities when we engage into politics. Kukovich of course mentioned the status of the economy, transportation, education, labor, and health (especially in Pennsylvania). However, we deal with other issues like the democracy of others (Iraq), same-sex marriage, stem cells, etc that really we shouldn't be worried about right now. As the comedian Lewis Black said that they "should be on page six under are we eating too much garlic as a people" in the book of things we should be worried about. But those issue are the ones that matter and not the ones the former state senator stated and the people worried about.

The people most likely hate all of these politicians that hide away from the true problems of this country unless they have to. They can't vote them out for several reasons and it all has to do with the voting system:

  • Voting is on a Tuesday between 7 am and 8 pm (hard for shift workers to get out of work to vote)
  • There are only two major political parties (in order for your voice to really be heard, you have to register as a Republican or Democrat)
  • Cultural strife are intensified (not just the obvious differences either)
  • Politcal parties basically take over an entire state.

Do you think America would be forced to change the voting policies if we held the systems feet to the fire?

Jolting It Up


Computers condition us for "high joltage." A jolt is an emotional reaward that follows a prescribed action. Turn on the TV at the right time for your favorite program, and it delivers jolts. Watch a movie and it delivers jolts. Log on to your favorite forum or chat room, and you get jolts of praise or blame.

As I begin to venture into the gist of internet writing, I should understand that I have to make surfers to stay at my sight. I think it is a good way to sharpen my skills as a writer. It is just another form of writing that we have to get used to like journalistis, creative, or technical. Educators are already finding out that web-writing is a strong skill to take advantage. Minneapolis-St. Paul schools are started these programs in middle school and it allowed them to pass a test. Web writing also allows students from Korea to learn English. "Jolting" afflicts us but at the same time it allows the internet to become fast paced and easily accessible.

I have to admit that I did not think I had it in me. To make websites and design them from scratch. Wow. Here I think I could show you all what I have been up to.


Do We Measure Our Lives in Sound Bites?

How is the print world adapting to the new and scary world. Aja and I have an exchange, while Daniella came to my rescue (Thank you and good points, Aja).

I Saw The Best Minds

Here I explain how technology could be affecting education.


Don't Confuse Me, Please

I posted this on a Saturday and people responded well. I really enjoyed Jed's response to this. I should comment on his blog more often.

Doesn't Dr. Jerz Have Facebook?

Social networks= online problems


 Do We Measure Our Lives in Sound Bites?

Aja and Denemarie pick an intellectual standoff with me


Why People Hate Newbies

I go into detail about the SHU blogs and the class of 2009. I also make comparison to that situation and Eternal September.


Aja Hannah

I gave Aja an example of Wikipedia's "sources". I also try to keep the conversation going in my blog.

Denamarie Ercolani

I shared with Denamarie about how all aspects of writing work.

Jackie Johns

With new technology comes a new set of problems. 


In August of this year, a Chicago Sun-Times writer thought that he need to keep up with the times. Jay Mariotti's two word e-mail (I quit!) have send a fury of criticism from the realm of print. One of the criticism's came from a Chicago Sun-Times veteran, Roger Ebert, who made sure that Mariotti departure was definetly lacking class. In his letter to Mariotti, Ebert had stated things that I was a little confused about. Ebert stated:

Times are hard in the newspaper business, and for the economy as a whole. Did you only sign on for the luxury cruise?

Do newpaper reporters really have that much of a budget, to send them anywhere on the globe? Let's look at the salary itself.  It would be presumptuous of me to know how much Mariotti made from writing at the Sun-Times.  However, let's say that I had been writing for a Chicago newspaper for 17 years, I could make around $49,000 annually.
Prior agreement may change that figure so it may not be that way in the end. A news report on television makes about $10,000 more.

So maybe the newspapers allow their reporters to go around the world. Yes and No. Yes, we see newspaper reporter travel the globe, but you won't see a Sun-Times reporter leave Chicago very often. Most newspaper and online outlets get there news from the Associated Press. Newspaper usually get the information, especially on world events, from them.

Mariotti noticed how newspapers did not get enough coverage into the Beijing Olympics. He convinced himself that it was a dying medium. But is it, really? At the Unversity of Hartford in 1991, there will be a lot of factors that lead to the decline of readership. One of the major factor is competion from other media due to technology. However, technology also saved the newspaper the same fate as the VHS.

If the death of the newspaper was eminent, then why did so many people reacted to the thing that Mariotti wrote. As a sport writer, he was always trading jabs with local sports figures like Ozzie Guillen. The fact that Guillen loved Mariotti's downfall made him enjoy every last second of this situation. The problem between these two became so bad that he used a homosexual slur to describe him. Marriotti had put gas in the flames by basically enciting his collegues to rip into Guillen.

Is this what we become? We rather watch a 7 sec sound bite than study a well-written article. I think that Mariotti had quit for personal reasons and not to wake everyone up from the depths of print extinction. In the world of sports, politics, and national news the print world could be a viable medium. National newspapers like the New York Times, are going online, but tradition is still strong by printing it on paper.

Life of it's Own

This convention caught on quickly around Carnegie Mellon, and soon spread to other universities and research labs via the primitive computer networks of the day. (Some CMU alumni who had moved on to other places continued to read our bboards as a way of keeping in touch with their old community.) -Scott Fahlman (Refering to Smileys)

There was a time where only top of the line computer experts were using smileys to show emotion to the reader. Just like an author writing something shocking because he/she has nothing on earth to say. I could understand the reasoning behind the creating of smileys. Fahlman describes how the smiley became more complex as the internet grew uncontrollably. Just like the internet itself, the smiley has evolved into something complex and also change the world around it.


Stamped with a Smile

The irony is, Net culture was unusually literate. The pioneers of the Net were hackers, people who routinely spend twelve to sixteen hours a day editing text, and whose favorite leisure-time activity is inhaling fantasy and science fiction novels by the pallet load. These people are no strangers to words. - Neal Stephenson


If they are not strangers to words, then why do they see the need for smileys? Communication. We always had a need to improve how we talk and write. Eventually it was taken over by the texting generation and the rest was history. If you look at the history of smileys as a Carnegie Mellon computer whiz started it 25 years ago, one would realize that the history of technological advances is far from recent. In fact, in order to get a good grasp on communication advances, you would have to start at the beginning of langauge itself. Maybe in the future, we would be able to find out a way to communicate without moving (how crazy is that). When I read the Stephenson article, all I could do was think about the article on Usenet and Eternal September. However, as I said in that blog entry, every time there is an introduction of a new technology or method to the public, there is no controlling it. Think about that the next time you see a smiley at the end of a text message ;-}). 


Why People Hate Newbies


When I see politicians talk about how their opponents are elitist...I think the original Usenet user had one up on them. I have to admit, when I first read the article I was a little confused. So as a started to click on the links and reflect on what those articles meant.

I think that Usenet users thought that they had a Utopia on their hands. A place where they can escape to these forums, talk about the subjects and move on. Dr. Jerz, in a previous class, told us that we (the class of 2009) came in to the SHU blogging scene already having experiences with Myspace and Facebook. I think that the '09 class seemed to waterdown breakthoughs that previous classes has made with blogs. Let me explain that statement.

When I first came to Seton Hill, and jumped headfirst into a blogging course with the blogmaster, my fellow freshman and I began to notice something. Upperclassmen, especially class '07, had actually build relationships on their blogs. Most of them are blogging today after they are long and gone. Personally, I did not have that connection (not at first... it took a while). I thought that it was another chore that we had to get done for our class. In some instances, I've seen some students even gripe online on how much they have to blog.

The class of 2009 and the classes that has succeed it could be considered the "AOLers" in some respects. However, I don't think that we had put to rest all academically sound thought since the SHU blog conception. I could put that same theory to the test for the "AOLers" and the Usenet users. When one introduces something that has been private for a while people tend to enter it is mass numbers. In those mass numbers, it is hard to weed out the psychos from the sane, the intellectuals from the conspiracy theorist.

Maybe some people can't grasp how fast ideas could be spread, become stale, help, or hurt in the online world. I hope that web users could grasp the strength that their presence as they stay online.

Do you think that Usenet was a great example of users changing the internet as we know it?

Doesn't Dr. Jerz Have Facebook?

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EL236--Writing for the Internet
Shapira, When Young Teachers Go Wild on the Web
Schwartz, Malweblolence


When I read Shapira's article, I laughed. One of the examples that I saw was the Richmond Public School art teacher painting a picture with his buttocks. I remember that story as clear as day. It just go to show that everything on the web could literally be translated in reality. Everything that we write and post online defines us. Just think of yourself as a politician for a moment, would you want college students angry at you because you wrote on your blog that college students was lazy. Another voting demographic lost.

This also reminds us that Facebook and MySpace does really help with this unprofessionalism. My first thoughts when Dr. Jerz profile surfaced on Facebook were ones of confusion and glee. I didn't worry that pictures of his wild parties would surface when his friends witnessed a glorious kegstand. But for others, I believe that they will have rude awakening.

Professional punishment isn't the only bad thing that could happen to a person. These "trolls" are out there causing financial and emotional problems. What I don't understand what is the thrill for these guys. I remember the Megan Meier case as some powerful force that the internet could have on people.

Do you think we need to, in some way, control the content of the Internet?

Co-Creators of Chaos


EL 232--Writing of the Internet

Schackner, Freedom of speech redefined by blogs

Student conduct codes and computer use policies are applicable to blogging, experts say, and it's probably not hard to make a compelling case for why posting a video of your roommate having sex is a bad idea.

I remember when this article first hit the Post-Gazette my freshman year. Other than the lovely picture, the article really hit home about how even a small campus like Seton Hill can gain attention on a global front. We should never forget that our blogs are around for the whole world to see. I remember how some random person had a comment for me and my blog. I've also seen rants on blogs that had the capability of getting people into a lot of trouble. Different bloggers, sane or not, are "co-creators" of the internet, which means their sick ideas influence what make up the information online. I know it is a 1st amendment right to say and write whatever, but as I saw in another blog "your right to swing your fist, ends with my nose."

I Saw The Best Minds


EL 232-- Writing For The Internet
Lewin, Informal Style of Electronic Messages is Showing Up in Schoolwork, Study Finds

I want to start by saying I love the New York Times, despite what the recent politicians are saying about it. Reading this article reminds me of the opeining line I read in Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl":

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked...

Excessive text messaging and e-mailing is basically turning my generation in to mad, language chopping typist. O.K. I'm guilty of this sometimes, but being unable to separate professional or academic work from social rants could create a state of panic. Don't believe me? There was a section in the article that really stood out to me.

“I think in the future, capitalization will disappear,” said Professor Sterling, who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. In fact, he said, when his teenage son asked what the presence of the capital letter added to what the period at the end of the sentence signified, he had no answer.

What! A professor's son did not know why we capitalize the first letter of the sentence. It is a point of simplicity and comfort that we are quickly becoming used to. We are now relying on our technology to think for us in some respects.

I could remember back in middle school how I could not wait to get to a computer to sent an e-mail (I did not have a personal computer until I graduated high school), making sure I did not make a mistake. But one think I noticed was that it took too long if I wrote correctly. So I started to write in the infamous short hand that the article addresses.

The moral of this story...
Teens are lazy. Once they jump into higher education or professional roles, one of two things will happen: A rude awakening or a wake.

There was also an interesting fact at the end of the article. A lot of the teens who write outside of school are black and/or female. Different life experiences could result in different writing experiences, in the print and digital world. One thing good that could come out of the text message era is that everyone now has information at the tip of their fingers, but how it is used is a different story.