Thursday, April 16, 2015

Manovich (The Interface)

After reading the excerpt from Manovich's book "The Language of New Media", the main thing that stuck out to me that can be interpreted as a more modern form of a cultural interface would be Myspace. This "older" social networking site holds the same property of being easily malleable for the user that creates a profile for the site. With the ability to sift through a garden variety of custom layouts that are found on multiple sites, a user is free to either copy and paste a layout that they like, or they are able to tweak the basic coding of the custom layout to change the color of the font, the background picture, the layout for the page itself (how the information of the profile can be organized), and so on. Having such a capability lets each and every user make their Myspace page unique to anyone else on the site. For some, this meant they could show off a favorite hobby, movie or TV show, part of the world, any religion or cultural practice, or just about anything else that the user desires. With being able to customize Myspace on this level, this creates a fully unique experience for each user while being managed by the same site. I believe this to be a grade A example of how computers have left the stigma of just being a digital typewriter or a machine used for exclusively work purposes to a personal device that can provide a unique way to acquaint oneself to others in society.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Selber (Multiliteracies)

After reading Multiliteracies, the main thought that crossed my mind was how implementing newer technologies could not only not bring better productivity, but hinder it to a noticeable extent. At first I thought that this notion was somewhat crazy or even incorrect. Then I gave it some more thought and realized that newer technology has been a distraction for me and other students in past courses in college, high school, and even middle school. With great power (in this case, technology) comes great responsibility, which me and my fellow peers and colleagues did not have when I was younger. Since most of the content that was taught to us at the time was rudimentary to the point that we had learned this information years ago more than likely on our own, we would find alternative activities to dive into while class was going on. May it be flash games, social networking sites, or even just browsing the Internet for interesting, but irrelevant stuff to read, we would find something to distract ourselves from class. We wouldn't suffer from a grades standpoint since we already knew most of the content taught in class, but it was the fact that all of that time was wasted on our teachers going over the absolute basics of either starter PC functionality (opening files, navigating your control panel, etc...), Microsoft Office, and other pure basics, that could have been used for much more productive means. We could have learned more complex functions of Office or even dive head first into a new program or even expand on the basic HTML website building that we briefly touched on in middle school. If we were able to implement a new action plan for educators not only in college-level course, but in high schools and middle schools, our newer generation of technology-users would be more than ready for the real world and would be able to not only find easy work and be noticeable proficient at it, but have the proper mindset instilled into then to analyse the current systems they use and explore into how they can change/modify the for the future.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Jones & Hafner (Chapter 4)

In the same way that I mentioned taking hypertext in all of its forms and uses for granted in my last post, I've been doing the same thing with the multimodality found among almost everything we possess and interact with. After thinking about it for a while, I realized that such visual and text-based techniques haven't only made it to the internet and major print, but to even stuff like food, clothing, and other products and merchandise. All of the advertisements that you see when you walk into stores such as Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart, JCPenney's, and even places like AMC Theaters and the DMV for heaven's sake haha. All of these places have some sort of implementation of a poster, acrylic signage, scrolling digital display, or even interactive displays and demos that utilize multimodality to initially attract the consumer. Then, when they've come up close to said visual, there's carefully placed text that provides all necessary information in a concise (or appropriately-detailed), organized, and attractive text that makes the reader fully engaged and optimally wanting whatever is being conveyed to them. Whether it's a new portable speaker, a kitchen knife set, new stylish jeans, or even a DMV poster encoraging safe driving and to not text and drive, they use similar methods of obtaining said reactions from people. I've even noticed it just on the packaging of products before. Video games make this especially evident with how they position their review scores all over the game cases and how they relate the summary text of the game to the illustrations framed around the text. This type of multimodality is all around us and it's becoming a norm in our society and in technology, if it isn't considered a norm already.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Jones and Hafner: Chapter 3

Hyperlinks have been something that I've taken for granted for such a long time. It never fully occurred to me just how much more possibilities it gives writers compared to any form of print. Growing up with the internet at your disposal kind of makes you forget about what things use to be like before we had such technology at our command. Heck, I even remember being in a web-building course that taught us how to create a basic webpage with a background graphic, text in the middle, and a few hyperlinks to other sites. Having the ability to easily switch from one site or article to another with one click from such a young age makes it hard to appreciate what it all came from originally. Multimedia would also fall into this category with hyperlinks. Both of these are taken for granted since I've known how to do them for a long time and still use them to this very day.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Jones & Hafner: Chapter 1

One main piece of technology that I believe has has one of the most influential impacts on society as a whole is the cell phone. Especially with the development of smartphones, they give us the potential to communicate with virtually anyone across the world without having to travel or go through an ordeal just to have such a long distance call from a land-line. Smartphones have also introduced having such a device can manage most, if not all, aspects of your life from social networking, business-related applications, general scheduling and time-maintenance programs, mobile gaming (for those of us who are games), and so on. The one significant problem with said technological advances, while it unlocks a plethora of potential uses for mankind, they have an equal potential to isolate us from conventional (non-technology-orientated) reality. With this being emphasized by the typical high-school student that will text in the middle of class or when at the dinner table with family, this technological breakthrough can isolate someone from the rest of the social activity that surrounds them. This may seem contradictory since one of the affordances is being able to easily communicate with everyone, it becomes isolated in the virtual world, thus eliminating some or most of the in-person social interaction that someone like me grew up with when we would have to ride our bikes or skateboards to someone's house to see if they were home and if the wanted to come outside and play. Nowadays you can easily send a text or a message on Facebook to see what anyone is up to without having to even get out of your bed. Our smartphones (and even cell phones to an extent when they were in their infancy) give us a very powerful form of communication, but for those who use it vigilantly, can make someone physically isolated and in some cases even lazy to a noticeable ( and maybe need-to-be-addressed/corrected) extent. As a side note, laptop computers could be also included in this, minus the cellular capability to call someone, which is though made up by the fact that computers have more advanced/robust operating systems that hold similar alternatives of communication through wireless or wired internet.

The only other piece of technology that comes to mind that has certain implications to ourselves would be gaming devices, which would incorporate gaming consoles such as PlayStation or Xbox, PC's, and mobile gaming devices such as Gameboys and PlayStation Vitas. While these devices hold the potential to teach us life lessons through the story-telling of games and help increase hand-eye coordination and reaction times (more so seen in fast-pace games like Halo or Call of Duty), they hold a similar constraint that cell phones do in how they have the capability to isolate someone from the rest of society from a physical perspective. This dives into the typical realm of the "gaming hermit" that stays inside and plays video games throughout the day and well into the night, without any regard most of the time to communicating with others besides those who are in an online game with said person.

Both pieces of technology here bring us back to the underlying principle of incorporating mediation to the technology that we are blessed with having and being able to use on such a casual level. As long as humanity can control themselves and show willpower and multi-tasking capabilities, such constraints may not have to be a priority or focus point in developing newer technologies and a better understanding and development of "Digital Literacies"


Lankshear & Knobel (Intro. and Chapter 1)

As arguably one of the most interesting introductions (and beginning chapters) I've read, Lankshear & Knobel's beginning to their textbook made me realize all of the crucial skills I've acquired over the years by immersing myself into a garden variety of technologies through school, work, and of course all mediums of social technology. For the most part I took such skills for granted and assumed for a long time that most people were on this "level" of technological efficiency (more so on a social level; I have been unfortunately aware of the disparity between richer and poorer areas on a scholastic level). With it being especially prominent in the younger generation that most college student are a part of and of course those even younger, the daily use of technology for multiple purposes has seem to become a widely seen and more than accepted norm for those who wish to stay on pace with their fellow peers and society in general. The younger generation has a catalog of digital venues such as gaming platforms, social networking mediums (which I will state includes blog sites and all varieties of public forums), mobile operating platforms (Apple, Android, Windows, and other operating systems), and all other miscellaneous software and hardware. With such a list at their fingertips, the norm for how much they submerse themselves in said technology has steadily been growing due to how the younger generation uses and edits the current digital content and hardware around them. I feel very fortunate that I've been able to have just about all of there technological amenities ready and available to use (especially in college), but I would more than love to see such integration implemented into all level of schooling. With how much technology is used and what future implications and potential it holds, all of those who are just starting to grow up with such modern marvels at their disposal  need to be exposed and taught just how much potential it holds for them not only in school, but in their potential future careers and whatever extra-curricular endeavors they embark on. I am a firm believer in adapting to the new and using it to your fullest advantage, thus we should make such possibilities available to everyone who will be taking their first steps into our new world of "Digital Literacy" or "Digital Literacies" (The latter of the two being the one I prefer) and have all of the potential technology and software available to do with how they see fit while being taught what fundamental purposes and functions such modern marvels hold for not just themselves or the people around them, but for our entire world.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Chapter 2: Information Everywhere

After reading the chapter "Information Everywhere", especially activity 2.1, it made me start to think of all the small, sub-conscience systems I've mentally created to organize everything I have and all of the subsequent data that comes with it that needs to be "filed" so to speak. What intrigued me most was the fact of how there is more emphasis on the relationships that each bit of data has with one another and how the method of organization is not a conventional set of categories, but an overwhelming pool of data sorted by relevance with each other. If given enough thought, the idea of creating relevant relationships with pieces of data can be applied to most if not all of the stored information that everyone has currently within their own minds. These relationships and thinking in the mindset of how internet search engines organize data makes noticing this trait throughout your unique information incredibly apparent.

There was one part in the beginning of the chapter that brought up the term "information overload", which means that someone is not mentally able to or wanting to handle/process/manage the information that they're being presented constantly. What always got me when hearing that term was the fact that I've never felt as if there was too much information around and readily available to me. The biggest reason for this was the fact that 99% of the information that the entire world has to offer is for the most part irrelevant to me and what I'm remotely interested in or what I should need to know. Those who tend to feel overwhelmed I suspect try to take everything in, including bits and pieces of data that will make no difference in his life and hold no logical relevance to anything else he focuses on as a primary set of necessities/concerns/priorities. With what we're given nowadays, from a technology standpoint, we have more than the capability to easily organize our whole array of digital content while at the same time leaving enough mental "space" left for us to be ready for whatever new information the world decides to throw at us.