allnighter's blog

New Media Literature


Has anyone been following the SocialiteRank scandal? It's really interesting, even if you don't move in those circles (and I'm pretty sure none of us in the class do). Anyway, here is the article that New York did on the whole thing.
I was browsing a summation of the whole thing on HuffingtonPost, and noticed an apt comparison that the Post made with the events - the narrative of the scandal pretty closely resembles Dangerous Liaisons, where a bunch of wealthy peoples' lives are ruined through a series of correspondances. It made me ask the question: when is there going to be some great literature about New Media? We need some sort of a sprawling, Tom Wolfe-ish story about a big blogging scandal or something. Maybe some great writer is working on it right now...

My Intro to New Media


This class has been quite an experience for me. Usually I've managed to steer clear of any classes that required significant amounts of work that would be posted online (one class I took had a moodle requirement, but it was pretty light; basic summaries of the reading or responding to others' opinions on it). I think I should have taken this class as a freshman - In fact, I think all freshman should take this class. Maybe I would have gotten more out of the blogging, and been more engaged with the blog, if my academic habits weren't already so entrenched. (notice how late this post is coming up... that immediacy is one thing I don't like about the blogging. It's not something due in class, it's something outside of class that is really sort of nebulous.) Anyway though, I do think that classes should integrate new media better into the curriculum. Just not classes I'm in. Maybe if we start doing this sort of thing earlier it would be more effective.

Wiki Madness


I was rummaging around the wiki last night when a realization dawned on me: The thing, in my opinion, that makes our wiki interesting is how our opinions inform the entries. The coolest pages on the wiki are ones like the Apple page - where it's basically a list of different people in the classes' views on Macs. Also, the Arrested Development is a good example - it contains nothing whatsoever about the show itself, but it is still a good read. And does it matter that it doesn't list the show's info? We have the real Wikipedia for that. I like the concept of our wiki being a sort of OpinionWiki, an amalgam of an entire classes' views on the things that touch their lives.

Cool Website...

You guys should check out Netvibes. It's this cool website that basically, as the article that first pointed me in its direction said, "fits the whole Internet onto one page." It really does! A lot of other sites like Yahoo or Google that manage to cram a lot in, but you really only have access to sites that are owned by the respective parent companies. Netvibes, on the other hand, lets you add a button/window thing for pretty much anything you want. It's almost too much to handle; that's why I haven't made it my homepage (yet...) Anyway, let me know what

Media Addiction

Check out this blog post. Media addiction, eh? I think that's what I have. I'm wondering what the rehab possibilities will be for this. Maybe some sort of 30-day sensory deprivation? Another issue it raises is what kinds of media one can and should be addicted to. If I give up watching TV and stop reading blog posts, will I just replace that with reading actual books or something?

Cameroon cashing in?

I don't know if this has ever happened to you, but sometimes I'll be typing in a URL and I'll type .cm instead of .com. If that's ever happened to you, you should remember that it takes you to this site. I'd always wondered what .cm was a country code for, any why did all of its sites seem to lead to this Agoga thing. Well, thanks to Wikipedia, I've found the answer. .cm is used for the African nation of Cameroon. Check out this little article on the subject. So basically, Cameroon is using the similarity between .com and .cm to make a ton of money.

Effects of Misogyny

I realized something during our class discussion today about the effects of misogyny on the web. Specifically, it was when Prof. Fitzpatrick used the article from to illustrate her point about how offensive flamings can affect female writers. I'd read that article before class, because I wanted to see how it would address the same problems that you find in the comments on against female columnists there. That site features just as much anti-female vitriol as any other one, and I definitely agree that comments like this:

"Is there any reason why this is acceptable from liberal Salon, but not Ann Coulter?

Creative Proposal: Online Magazine

For most of this semester, I've been working on starting a lifestyle magazine for Pomona College. The analogy that I've been using to describe it is that All-Nighter (the name of the publication) would be what you would get if you turned the brain of a college student into a magazine, sort of a cross between Vanity Fair and My creative project idea is to design the website for All-Nighter. But I don't want the website to be just another iteration of the format used in so many other online magazine/newspaper sites. I'd like the site ( [still under construction, but we have secured the domain]) to be one that reflects more of the actual print magazine.

Immediacy and the Uncanny Valley

Our discussions on immediacy in class reminded me of the Uncanny Valley Theory. I'll summarize it for those of you who don't want to read the lengthy wikipedia entry. The Uncanny Valley is a theory that a Japanese roboticist came up with to explain emotional responses between humans towards robots. Basically, the theory says that as a robot (or any depiction of a human) becomes more humanlike in appearance and motion then the human response towards it will become more positive, until a point is reached where the robot suddenly becomes repulsive to the human - this is the "valley" in the name, where the levels of empathy dip suddenly.

Predictions & Prescience

We've talked a lot in class about theorists who were surprisingly prescient, and whose ideas continue to be developed successfully. But I it's also interesting to think about times when we can be too eager to jump into future technologies, and run the risk of incorrectly predicting how they will be used. A lot of our talks about the early days of computers reminds me of a story about a family friend. At the start of the computing revolution, when businesses we just beginning to see the benefits of using computers, he predicted (and correctly) that soon everyone would need access to a computer. Unfortunately, he didn't forsee the rise of the personal computer, and instead decided to sink several tens of thousands of dollars into buying many of those large computers we hear so much about - the ones that take up nearly a whole room.

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