valerievisual

Readings, and Related Inspirations


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Week 1 DigiWrimo Story

The Girl Who Tried to Save the World

She had a lot on her mind that week: 500 words a day on the dissertation, carb loading and light training for the 1/2 marathon coming up that weekend, sew a princess skirt to wear during the run to contribute extra bounce and happiness to the event, try to save the world — it wasn’t a normal week for her. It was special. And so she tweeted

and instagrammed:

and then she sat down to research just how she might save the world.

After some careful deliberation, she decided that the job was not possible. The materials to save the world were not in place. There were only republicans and democrats – or as her father taught her “republican’ts and democrappies” – with a few libertarians sprinkled in for good measure. There would be no world saving that day. No matter how loud she yelled at the voting polls that day only 2 things would happen:

1. her voice would only somewhat be heard through voting

2. she would get kicked out for disturbing the peace of the other voters.

She went for option 1:

https://vine.co/v/OeutnrelgZA/embed/simple

She got a sticker for her attempt. But the world would not be saved as long as there were only 2 choices.

THE END


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Design Decisions – a presentation

It is becoming increasingly important for writers to think visually. If we are going to survive in a world of screens, we need to begin to think about how to go about it. One of the tools we already have is design. We already think about the margins and fonts we use when we create a traditional style essay. And those of us who tweet, blog, or use instagram are thinking about the presentation the 140 character message, the blog we keep about running, or the instagramming we do of our food.

In 2002, Diana George claimed in her article, “From Analysis to Design” that “to talk of literacy instruction in terms of design means to ask writers to draw on available knowledge and, at the same time, transform that knowledge/those forms as we redesign” (26). George goes on to quote the New London Group on the matter: “Designing transforms knowledge in producing new constructions and representations of reality.” For both George and the New London Group, design is an impactful part of our rhetorical approach to whatever project we’re working on.

Today I will be talking about 3 web tools that we could use to do a variety of projects and presentations. We will talk about the available designs and capabilities of these tools, and we will talk about how to decide which is best for whatever projects you may be working on. In 2005, Anne Wysocki made an argument that is still very important, which we should keep in mind as we walk through the tools below: “to ask after the constraints as we teach or compose can help us understand how material choices in producing communications articulate to social practices we may not otherwise wish to reproduce” (“awaywithwords” 56).

Prezi is a presentation tool which has both a ‘path’ feature, and a zooming feature you can use to create a linear OR non-linear presentation to keep your audience engaged. Prezi has templates you can start with, or you can design your own prezi using your own background pictures or shapes.

Here are several examples.

Sugar the Quiet Killer

The above was created using a template. I chose to do a prezi because of its embedding capabilities, because of the availability of this particular template, and to show my students what prezi can do on a basic level. I did alter this template somewhat.

Stitches Book Recommendation

This one is a student project done for a comic book classroom. The student took advantage of the storyline in which a boy goes down and into the story. For this one, the student did not use a template, but took scenes directly from the comic.

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wordpress is a blogging tool that you are currently looking at. Blogs can be used as presentations, like the one you are seeing here, they can be formatted into whole single projects, they can be turned into websites, and they can be traditional blogs, among other things. The wonderful thing about wordpress is its versatility – if you can think of it, you can probably design it on wordpress. Keep in mind that the themes are rather limiting, as each theme has different capabilities. Traditionally, we think of what we put inside the theme as ‘content,’ and the visual design as ‘form.’ But as Krisitn Arola pointed out in 2010, “the form/content separation is problematic in that form is implied as not content” (“The Design of Web 2.0 6).

Here are some examples of wordpress blogs used in different ways:

Accidental Devotional

The above is a traditional blog kept by a teacher, mother and activist right here in Atlanta. You can see how simple the author has kept her blogroll, with a plain background and not a lot of flashy widgets. And yet she has a wide audience, and has even given a TEDex talk.

GSU Tools prototype

This is a wiki prototype that is in the process of a build through the Student Innovation Fellowship. If you compare it to the first blog design, it is almost unrecognizable as the same type of tool, unless you know what you are looking at. The theme on the above blog allows the boxes to display in the way they do, and each theme has different menu capabilities that some others do not have.

Travel Portland

And this one is a webpage made by wordpress. The theme is likely an expensive customizable one which delivers a clean presentation to help the reader get more information on travel to Portland, Oregon.

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tumblr – is another blog site, but it has a much different design aesthetic than wordpress, and is even pretty well-known as a social media site where users display predominantly visual blogrolls, or feeds, as we typically think of them when we talk about SNSs.

Here are some examples of how people are using tumblr.

Obama is checking your email

The above is a satire tumblr making fun of a claim about a year ago, that President Obama is checking our email. This tumblr went up and content was quickly added for a short period of time. The purpose of this tumblr was to make fun of a news story that would likely be forgotten very quickly. It was important that this tumblr be plain, and contain almost all visuals so the reader could scan through, have a good laugh, and move on.

Vintage Black Beauty

This tumblr is an excellent example of how these tools can be used for larger projects like collecting digital artifacts for display in an archive. This tumblr has a much different theme than the Obama one does, and it takes advantage of layout to give the reader a sense of the types of images collected within. This tumblr is actually being used as a part of the author’s dissertation.

 

 


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Memory and the Formation of Internal Time-Consciousness

Right now. I am writing this blog, cooking some chicken, and listening to music. For me though, now is a rather large amount of time, when I think of all my movements compiled into a ‘now’ point. I set my timer for 40 minutes a few minutes ago. The timer is ‘now’ running, but I set it in the past… part of my continuous now moment. Now however, does not always work this way. Now is subjective… and as soon as I can say the word ‘now,’ it’s then.

Edmund Husserl, in his essay, “The Constitution of Temporal Objects,” from his book The Phenomenology of the Internal Time-Consciousness tells us that our experiences begin to “blur and draw together” the further we move away from them. The ‘now’ I had when I set my timer, is beginning to blend into a past. A past that, tomorrow morning, will be one blob of ‘last night.’ And all my ‘last nights’ eventually blur into ‘last month’s nights’ and so on. “Blur and draw together.”

This morning I walked to my coffee shop and on the way, read an excerpt from Marcel Proust’s epic novel In Search of Lost Time, which used to be called Remembrance of Things Past. In the 2nd chapter of Swann’s Way, Marcel remembers his childhood home.

William C Carter update

This is the edition I am reading.

At the house, the setting is always grey and the time is perpetually 7 o’clock in the evening – bedtime for the young narrator. Later, Marcel tastes a petite madeleine   dipped in tea, and this sparks more memories for him.

And this whole narrative causes me to think about the house where I grew up. that tiny green house in Huntington Beach. I remember that house as fondly as I might a family member. I remember it with such vividness – the color of the carpet in the dining room – the claw-foot bathtub in the bathroom – I had not ever considered to attempt to remember it the way Proust’s character does. And so:

If I stand in the street and look at the house, it’s morning. It’s time fore school. White fog is rolling in from the ocean and blanketing everything. But if I stand on the porch and look out, it’s daytime – sunny and bright. Each room of my little house contains a different set of memories – the living room is filled with Christmas, string games, blanket fort building, Saturday morning cartoons, and uncles. My parent’s bedroom is all spankings, reading Star Trek books with my dad, and brown quilts.

And so I wonder whether or not I remember more about my childhood than most people. If so, why do I remember so much so vividly? If not, why don’t more people talk about their memories from when they were little? Why does Proust have this singular memory of bedtime and the staircase, and I have hundreds of memories all over my house?

 

As I delve deeper into the study of time, memory surfaces again and again. It is such a subjective experience, both broken and powerful. Would that we could put Proust and Husserl in a room together and see what happens….

 


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Inspiration in a Podcast

As I prepare to dig deep into my dissertation, I have learned a lot about my own writing process(es) – one of which is podcasting.

Let me explain:

In order to stay healthy and brain-stimulated, I run several times a week. When I run, I don’t like to listen to music. The beat forces my pace and this frustrates me. Instead, I podcast. I don’t listen to funny podcasts because laughing while running is also not wonderful. Instead, I podcast educational materials. Recently I have discovered the material theorists dream – The History of the World in 100 Objects sponsored by the British Museum.

Not only has this lead to several hours of fascinating discovery about significant bits of history of which I was unaware, it has also (today) lead to some rather large bits of inspiration. In podacst 015: “Early Writing Tablet“, broadcast on 5 February 2010, the narrator says, “Of all mankind’s great advances, the development of writing is surely the giant. I think you can say, it’s had more impact on the evolution of human society than any other invention.”  The episode, which I have linked you to above, goes on to talk about one of the first discoveries of writing in Uruk. The writing is record keeping – and the record is about beer. Suffice it to say, this program is worth a listen.

As I listened to this short episode, I realized that I don’t have to do much to connect the theoretical lens that I am using to frame my dissertation to the study of writing. Writing is so immensely important to humans, civilization, and the labor we put into making those civilizations work, almost any object, space, or even software can be linked to how important writing on, in, or about is crucial to deciphering how to better ourselves, and the civilizations in which we live.


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Happy Birthday, Internet: Today’s Use and Privacy

If you hadn’t heard yet, yesterday was the 25th birthday of the internet. About 25 years ago, Tim Berners-Lee was working as a physicist, and decided to connect up some computers to each other. Well… that’s the really short story of it.

There are a bunch of great stories on public radio this week to mark the internet’s age. For example, here is a little clip about Berners-Lee and his new idea – the world wide web:

http://www.npr.org/2014/03/12/289594960/a-very-special-proposal-anniversary-for-the-world-wide-web

Sure, it’s all terrifically interesting, but what does it all mean for us right now? The short answer:

We still have no idea.

What has really been catching my attention lately is all the talk about security, privacy, and surveillance. According to Colin J. Bennett’s 2011 article “In Defence of Privacy,” the concept(s) of privacty “is not, and can never be, the antidote to surveillance” (485). This took me back a bit – isn’t that what we hear in popular media all the time these days? Isn’t privacy the opposite of surveillance?

Reading further in Bennett’s article, which is largely a literature review about many of the opposing views concerning privacy, we don’t really have a cohesive concept about privacy at all. So how are we to decide whether or not our privacy is being ‘invaded’ if we don’t even really know what privacy is? I put ‘invaded’ in quotations here because ‘invasion of space’ is only one concept of how privacy works (488-489).

Rather than go on and on about how much we don’t know, I find it worth my time to explore more of how we discuss privacy, particularly in terms of rhetoric and composition pedagogy and theory in the last 25 years.

For now, I leave you with last week’s Science Friday exploration of security on the interwebs in which the expert, Bruce Schneier claims, “It’s less a little brother, and more a lot of little brothers” (Schneier), concerning networked items that can track what we do.

Later, our noble host, Ira Flatow asks, “Can we opt out?” – In short, the rather unsatisfying answer is that we kind of can’t.

http://sciencefriday.com/segment/03/07/2014/delving-into-the-security-of-an-internet-of-things.html 

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