Author Archives: hzty

Class Reflections

I kind of wish I could just keep taking this class; most days I feel like we ended class discussions with so much more to say. The readings varied in quality for me, but when they worked they inspired me to think about technology in new ways (sometimes I felt like I was being presented with very basic ideas that, for whatever reason, I’d just never thought about before). Google Wave was a innovative technology that I’d never used before, and I remain surprised that more people don’t use it. Of course, given that it’s a service highly dependent on wide societal use for success, I’m not sure it’ll catch on.

Lab reflections:
HTML/website coding – I’m so glad we got to make websites. Between the first lab and the final project, I definitely got to stretch myself coding-wise. I was familiar with html (could fix code) but had never created anything from scratch before. For the final project I got to try a little javascript (some pretty messy jquery), which was… an adventure.
Audio – I can’t say I totally enjoyed this. I guess that, with the inclusion of the video lab, audio just seemed inferior.
Video – I am never using iMovie again. In some ways it was more frustrating than Sophie (I think I had higher expectations). Using Final Cut Pro for the final was a very different experience (in a good way) and made iMovie look, as illustrated in Blake and Kyle’s project, far inferior. I enjoyed the actual filming process, however, despite actors being really difficult.
Sophie – I’m maybe a little masochistic because I loved Sophie. This from the girl who had to deal with 1. the program refusing to save and 2. bringing her desktop to class. I think when the kinks are worked out it’ll be an incredible program. I think it spoke the most to what we were learning about in class in terms of hypertext and a new digital way of thinking.

I enjoyed class with all of you and want to thank everyone for some entertaining and provoking discussions. And, of course, thanks to Prof. Fitzpatrick for facilitating and creating an amazing class and semester.

– Hannah

Is This Man Cheating on His Wife?

After reading the article, I was a little incredulous at what the wife was willing to put up with. It seems fairly clear that he’s cheating on her, given that he actually married another woman. We’ve talked some about the legitimacy of internet relationships, and I think it’s undeniable that in an era of digital communication there’s at least emotional infidelity going on. Even if it’s not specifically cheating (which I would argue it is) he’s at least neglecting his relationship to a dangerous extent (not even realizing that his wife had talked to him). The hours he’s pouring into his other life are clearly detrimental.

Is there such a thing as internet relationship therapy? I wonder if a separate sect of psychology will develop to discuss couple’s therapy with a slant towards the digital. I know there’s psychology aimed towards addiction (to video games, internet lives etc) but I think it would be interesting to see the more relationship-focused therapy, exploring why people feel the need to escape their current partners to something online.

UofMich Graduation, Obama, and Twitter

I went home to Ann Arbor this past weekend for a grand total of 30 hours to see my sister graduate in the Big House (in case you don’t know, that’s the University of Michigan’s football stadium, which is absolutely gigantic). Security was high as President Obama was the commencement speaker and his safety is slightly important. One of the measures taken (besides not letting us use umbrellas in the pouring rain) was requiring everyone to be in the stadium by 9am, even though the ceremony didn’t start until 11am. To keep everyone occupied in the miserable two hours in between, they tried to make the ceremony interactive. Along with some performers, they had gigantic screens (useful for those sitting too far away to see Obama’s face during his speech) and during the “pre-ceremony” they had tweets from people in the stadium. Some of these were dedicated to OSU sucking, some of these were dedicated to the horrible weather, and a majority were dedicated to excitement over Obama. For a little bit it was cool, then we ran into the main problem with live Tweeting. Eventually, (an hour into the wait) people stopped tweeting. Then they had to rescroll the same tweets over and over again. I think the rush to be “hip” or whatever and incorporate tweets was a good gesture, but I’m not sure if enough people there (alumni, parents, non-students) had twitter to make it successful.

Thoughts on using twitter for more serious events?

Gamer Theory and Sophie

So my response to this reading has to do with my reaction in correlation to my/our recent experience with Sophie. Gamer Theory is described in the about section as “a new sort of “networked book,” a book that actually contains the conversation it engenders, and which, in turn, engenders it.” and “an invitation to read in a different way.” I think these goals are aligned with the purpose of Sophie. Gamer Theory has a physical counterpart but the about section clearly encourages virtual reading.

Yes, it’s presented as more of a game than the options that Sophie provides, but both present a new way to read. The page visualization that both offer as well as additional figures that are viewable create a different type of book.

I also think that the Gamer Theory presentation is lacking, albeit in different ways than Sophie. I think we’ve… extensively (although arguably not comprehensively) covered Sophie’s issues so I’ll talk a little about Gamer Theory’s presentation. I find the “each page as a paragraph” format frustrating. This creates an unnecessarily large number of pages and moving from chapter to chapter is difficult once you’re in the page view. I could also see Gamer Theory pushing it’s status as a game even further. The “load saved game” is a cool nod to the purpose of the site, but I also think that Gamer Theory could have taken some things from Sophie and pushed itself to be even more interactive.

Self Control

Can’t seem to stay off facebook? Have a mac? Here’s a neat app that will stop you from whatever website you can’t keep off. There is no way you can undo it once you’ve committed to staying off the site (including but not limited to turning off your computer and restarting).
Self Control

Reading Response: Incest in Transformative Works

While incest remains one of the most taboo topics in our culture, when it comes to fandom and transformative works, (as we read in “The epic love story of Sam and Dean”: “Supernatural,” queer readings, and the romance of incestuous fan fiction) it’s actually a more popular topic when it comes to fandom’s. In researching for our discussion, I came across several very popular fandom’s involving incest: the afore-mentioned Supernatural, Heroes (so-called “Petrellicest,” spearheaded by niece/uncle Claire/Peter and brothers Peter/Nathan), and Harry Potter (which has a pairing for everything, including twins Fred and George). For the first two, these incestuous pairings are in many ways more popular than any other of the shows’ pairings. While the article proffered that the first was a lack of female and acceptable outlets, I feel that the strong pro-incest following presented in Heroes provides evidence to the contrary. I think that may be a too simplistic view of incest, our culture, and transformative works’ place.

Internet Activism

I was reading this article about how activism has become institutionalized and so much less radical (for better or for worse) and it made me wonder how activism would work in a modern age. In the 60s and 70s, predominant activist movements involved sit-ins, rallies, and write-in campaigns. As decades have passed, institutions have moved to deal with these kinds of activism (such as institutionizing activist groups as described in the article). However, despite some grassroot internet campaigns, I feel like a vast majority of social activism hasn’t moved to reflect this technological shift. While any kind of radical movement may now seems a little foreign (airport “sh*t-ins” anyone?), there is arguably still a need for a stronger form of activism than currently exists on campuses now.

So: connecting this to the digital age. Imagine, instead of people chaining themselves to trees, or a rally outside Pres. Oxtoby’s house, a virus that clears someone’s email of everything but a message from an interest group. While this is both extreme and an invasion of personal space (both of which were frequently violated during the civil rights movement for a greater cause), perhaps consider the less radical option of flooding someone’s inbox with emails. All I’m saying is that as institutions have changed, in today’s day and age, activism needs to change too, get technological, and get effective.

Sophie: Social Networking in a Brave New World

Finally uploaded my Sophie project! Maybe I’ve just been staring at it too long, but I’m pretty happy with it. I used the text “Brave New World of Digital Intimacy” by Clive Thompson.

Here it is!

I opted not to ruin the look of my project by highlighting all the interactive parts of my book, so I encourage you to mouseover things and enjoy. I’ve also uploaded a cheat sheet if you want a list of all the things I added; it’s packaged with the Sophie file so you’ll get it automatically in the .zip.

Brave New World of Digital Intimacy by Clive Thompson

White Text on Black Pages

Does anyone else find reading white text on black pages (such as this week’s reading) really, really unpleasant? It kind of burns my eyes.

Here’s a link to a psych study talking about why!

This maybe would have been more helpful during the website project, but I still thought it was interesting.

Harry Potter, Fanfiction, and Legality

With its influence on fanfiction (which definitely existed before JKR, but not in the same age range and numbers) Harry Potter has brought up some previously untouched debates (some of which were touched on by Jenkins) about copyright and intellectual material. Because along with introducing literature and fanfiction to young adults, it also introduced them to the idea that they might be stealing intellectual property from the original author (JK Rowling in this case). Consider the lawsuit leveled against RDR Books by Warner Bros. and Rowling over the publishing of the Harry Potter Lexicon. The author, Steve Ark, had even previously corresponded with Rowling and was planning to publish a Harry Potter encyclopedia.

Although this is an example of an author upset with someone making money off their work, other authors take issue with fanfiction itself, and non-profit works. While parody and criticism are under fair use, much of fanfiction is more homage or derivation than either of those things. While it’s easy to criticize authors for trying to control what, even by name, is someone appreciating their work, it’s also easy to see how some people might take issue with someone, however well-meaning, writing Judas/Jesus fanfiction (seriously. This is a thing that exists.). We’ve discussed how once you publish something you sort of lose the rights to it, but I can’t pretend I’m not sympathetic to the authors’ pain as their characters are twisted and mischaracterized.