class reading

Hypertext, again? Aye...

After reading George Landow's "Hypertext and Critical Theory" I realized that the hypertext media sounds more useful as a source of encyclopedic, references, journals, essays kind of literature rather than a story, or "'high' literature." I mean, I can imagine sitting reading some novel by Thomas Hardy, and thinking about the different aspects of society he is criticizing, and wanting to know more, and clicking on the links that will take me there, and reading a lot of material about Hardy's society, and me never finishing Jude the Obscure or any other of his novels. It would be a nightmare, but at the same time an easier format to access the vast amount of information regarding any particular aspect of what one is urrently reading.

A Hypertext Nightmare?

I played around with the story "Afternoon"--perhaps it should be underlined since it seems like a long story instead of short-- and though it was amusing at the beginning, after awhile it got not only confusing but annoying. When I started pressing return, and or clicking on words, and then going back to the previous page, I realized that some of the clicking--though either clicking of words, or clicking the return key-- still led to the same page. After doing this, and getting over it, I realized that I clicked on the tiger section, and when I was through with it I was taken back to the beginning where I had to choose between the lady and the tiger once more.

Quick on one the reading


A few thoughts on the Landow: wow; always nice to see someone take on hypertext and dig deeper than "this is really convenient" as to why it's important. On a personal note, it's also nice to get an indirect introduction to some thoughts and movements in criticism that I have been itching to learn about but haven't been exposed to really. Great point that people have been doing this in slower ways (activation energy too high for hypertext's emergent properties to show up) with footnoted scholarly articles and criticism, and then in a more centered way with postmodern fragmentation & allusion (see ulysses).

Forking links?

The structure of "The Garden of Forking Paths" was difficult to follow -- however significant in connecting theories that regard the universe and new media. While it is apparent that Borges uses several references to time and reality, it is also significant to recognize the connections offered in regards to present day technology. Lines such as: "Absorbed in these illusory images, I forgot my destiny of one pursued/. I felt myself to be, for an unknown period of time, an abstract perceiver of the world" and "I leave to the various futures (not to all) my garden of forking paths," immediately brought images of web links to mind.


In one of the various Oulipo articles, there was a sentence that was attached to the back of my mind; it said how the creators and members of this literary group did not have in mind that The Oulipo was to create literature, but rather to create new forms of literature. It's nonsensical, at least to me, considering that when creating a new form of poetry, one must write a poem as an example of how the new structure is woven in the new form at hand. This is yet another example of how one sort of media evolves and creates a new form of media which at its time of creation is new, but will later be one of the founding members of a new media which will evolve in the future.

Johnny Mnemonic

I really love William Gibson's work; it's always struck me as something of a guilty pleasure because there are so many 'great' books that I haven't read and I almost feel like if I'm taking the time to read, which I don't' do nearly often enough, I should go out and finally take on Absalom, Absalom, round off my Kundera, or try something by DeLillo. That said I always love getting submerged into the nasty, techy, exciting Gibson universe, and the ideas the he plays with are always so much fun to watch bounce around. In this case, you get the whole world in which information, and so data, is traded like any other commodity, and you get the human-computer symbiosis like we discussed in class. What with ubiqutous computing looming on the horizon (see everyware ), it makes total sense that soon we'll be carrying around our flashdrives in our heads instead of on our keychains. I am interested to see whether society will develop positions like that of Johnny's; weird new jobs stemming from the changes in informational commodities and methods of transaction.

Best Line Ever


"If you wish to know why they awoke sickened with horror, consult your Oxford English Dictionary under 'vetch' and draw your own conclusions"
- Raymond Queneau, Yours for the Telling

What a great freakin line in a story!

This "short story type thing" brought me back to Goosebumps, those scary stories I read in 3rd grade that you could pick how you wanted the story to go. They were longer than Queneau, and not really that good, but had the same premise.

I was actually thinking about this while I was falling asleep, there are an infinite many futures in front of us, we simply choose which one to live.

Practicality versus Intellect??? Perhaps not...


How amazing would it be to actually own ELF? I mean, it is basically a program that would allow me to write a story's first copy, and then edit it, and still keep intact the old edition, and then from the second new edition make a whole different new one, and still have the ability to go back to the first one; yes, this is possible in Word, but ELF makes it seem like it'll do it for you automatically, no hassle, no pain of creating a new Word Document, or of inserting brackets to divide from old work to new added pieces. I wish I had one.

The "Man-Computer Symbiosis" is hopefully too far-fetched to the point to be incapable of actually occurring more than we have seen it in current years.

man-machine symbiosis


The Licklider reading got me wondering if we have in fact reached true man-machine symbiosis today. Computers seem to always be more or less "dependent" on humans, in that if humans did not build them and use them they would cease to exist and function. But do humans ever really depend on computers to stay alive? While we all like our computers, gadgets and the Internet, we could surely still live without them. But then I thought about all of the computers used in hospitals and medical procedures, and realized that maybe some humans really do have true symbiotic relationships with machines.

If I just tilt my head 3 degrees, it's fine, but...


Nobody but me has any reason to care about this, but I find it really odd. All the pages in my NMR book are blatantly printed crooked. Not by a lot, but definitely noticeable at first glance. I just thought it was weird that a book on new media manages to screw up old media. I'm assuming nobody else had this problem with their book?

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