Check into class… into class!

So a lot has happened in the world since my last blog post– Kim  Kardashian is getting divorced, Captain America came out on DVD, Uncharted 3 was released for the PS3, there is a “Siri”-like app for android available now called Iris (Siri spelled backwards–which is awesome by the way. Iris and I have become good friends) and a new episode of Glee airs tonght!! Oh, and I have been working on my project. I start singing “Check into class… into class!” everytime I check into Grainger or Vilas or Humanities. It’s a catchy tune. I also decided to take a look at other locative services such as SCVNGR and Gowalla, and Yelp. I am still focusing mainly on foursquare but I wanted to see what these services had to offer.

I am in love with SCVNGR in that I have gained free wings from Buffalo Wild Wings (my favorite wing place!) just by completing fun challenges. This virtual space does effect my reality because I interact with people around me through the application. You can do a “social check-in” where you bump phones with friends who have the app and you earn points. There are also challenges you complete like taking a picture of a certain item or answering a question. Then you use your points to get a free coke, free wings, $5 off your bill, etc! I think it is awesome that just interacting with a place through an app can help save you money. It is also fun and passes the time while you wait for your food.

Gowalla is pretty cool in that it tells shows a google map of where each place is incase you are just looking for a cool new spot. Sometimes is also has an interesting little blurp about the place. I haven’t really used it that much. I did say “I’m here” which is what you do on Gowalla rather than checking in at a few places but there aren’t really reviews or ways to warn points.

Yelp is pretty fun. I didn’t realize there were so many good check-in deals. At Barriques Market you can get 50% off a coffee for checking in. I have just started using this app but I might use it for for all the sweet offers it has. It is also pretty useful for the reviews it has. If you are looking for a restaurant close to you it will pull them up and you can find out if they do take-out, reservations, if it is good for kids, etc. You can also become “The Duke” for checking into places.

As far as foursquare goes, I like the competitivness of it and how intense some people get in their mayorships. I am no longer the mayor of Denny’s and I was really mad when I found out. Especially since I begged my boyfriend to go to Denny’s last night but he wanted to go to Perkin’s instead. I lied to my aunt and said somebody stole her mayorship of the Dutch Mills Sports club when she was out of the state and she was so upset. I think it is funny how seriously some people take their mayorships. My aunt always brags about all the places she is mayor of. My boyfriend has also decided that foursquare is a competition between us and he tries to check-in everywhere to beat me in points. I forgot to check-in to Perkin’s last night and he didn’t remind me because he is trying to beat me.

I have also enjoyed sharing tips with other users and I created a few places that didn’t exist in the foursquare world. I added the church my friend just got married in so I would check in in her wedding day. I left a tip about a really friendly bar tender at Dutch Mills Sports club every wednesday night and also about the great service I recieved at Jiffy Lube. I think that applications like these make reality more fun and it makes us feel more connected to the virtual world as well as the real world.

#2: Social/ political advocacy groups online: Sharing news

I have spent quite a bit more time since my last practiucm post trying to get more involved with my chosen social/ political advocacy groups online. To recap the bulk of my focus is on the large, global advocacy group known as Amnesty International (AI). I started by checking out the website, joining the facebook group, following them on twitter etc. I did the same for Rock the Vote, which encourages youth political involvment; mainly voting. I’ve alway checked out smaller, local advocacy groups…certainly not all groups have the scope or audience as Amnesty International or Rock the Vote. (I intend to discuss these smaller groups, as compared to larger organizations, and their use of the internet in another post- so look for that!)

So far my attempts to socialize and get involved in Amnesty International and Rock the Vote online have been largely unsuccesful, leading me to think that these organizations prefer to use the internet, particularly social media, as a way of sharing information. Engaging directly with their audiences and encouraging their audiences to engage with each other seems somewhat less important. I’ve come to this conclusion for a few reasons. First, the far and away majority of posts/ tweets by Amnesty International and Rock the Vote share information, rather than ask questions. That is, they tend to be news stories which concern their cause. In the case of Amnesty International, their posts bring attention to news articles and events concerning human rights. These news posts/ tweets are highly frequent. Second, my attempts to engage in debate/discussion through Facebook and twitter were largely unsuccessful. I commented on and tweeted in response to several of the news stories posted by AI and didn’t get much back. Sure, I got a few likes on some of my points or comments (PHOTO), but didn’t received any engaged feedback by the organization or other users. It seems like the posts are published and users proceed to voice their own opinions, but there isn’t that much actual building on the prior comments. Communication is somewhat one way…

Also, I tried to put myself out there on AI and Rock the Vote’s Facebook pages by giving a brief rundown of my project. I posted on the wall that I chose these organizations due to my interest in their causes and I asked members/ users to share how they got involved and they used the internet to facilitate in their engagement in the advocacy group. Both AI and Rock the Vote deleted my posts nearly immediately 😦  I was surprised that my questions weren’t accepted by the organizations. I think they should encourage such questions to highlight the positive affect that the internet may have on garnering member invomnlvement. Specifically for AI, I feel like their message may be lost by the constant posting of current events. Their content is updating so quickly that members’ focus (and AI themselves) seems to move too quickly to facilitate effective, satisfactory discussion focused on specific issues they would like to take action on. Advocacy draws its strength from sustained, compelling debate so they should not miss this important opportunity!

Look for my continued attempts to get involved online, as well as a comparative look at large vs. smaller organizations’ use of the internet. Also looking forward to profiling the users/ members of these advocacy groups to better know what types of people are attracted to and get involved in online advocacy.

Too Much Information

Hi All,

This past Sunday, I attended a four and a half hour workshop that was apparently going to teach me all there is to know about the software Dreamweaver CS5.5 and how to create, edit, and maintain my own homepage using it. Well, they certainly gave me all the information there is to know about what I previously stated, but there was the concern of whether or not I was going to be able to remember it all and that is still my worry. After receiving so many steps on how to create new pages linked to the homepage, change a font, or a background image, and import new images, I wish they would have given us a printed Word Document on the key and crucial steps that we learned.

Additionally,  I had hoped to create my own homepage that would center on my own interests of what I wanted my homepage to focus on, the instructor had the class create a homepage with the same focus for everyone so we could follow his structure of organization on this particular Dreamweaver homepage we were making in the workshop. Thus, the title of the homepage was called SLOP, Saving Lonely Orphan Puppies. I do understand that in order for everyone to follow along with the instructor easiest, we must create the same homepage, but now my worry is being to edit the homepage in my free time to make it pertain to myself.  I defnitely learned a lot about Dreamweaver and now I have a concrete homepage composition with links! I also know that now I just need to stay organized when editing my homepage for this class, but I just hope I don’t mess up a coding sequence, which can change my whole composition. I will keep you updated on my progress! 🙂


I got what I expected while browsing Myspace. As a former user, I thought it to be nostalgically amusing albeit unsettling. When I deleted my account, users were just starting to get into sparkly .gif posts on their page, as well as HTML layouts that gave theirspace a more personalized flair. I noticed that there were a LOT more girls/women then boys/men on Myspace currently, as opposed to before when I felt like my friend list was an even ratio. There was a fair amount of profiles that disclosed a lot of personal information, and there were a lot of weird sparkly icons that quoted hip-hop artists. And let’s not forget the pictures where the user’s best assets were shown off (boobs).

I could say that there is some sort of hierarchical difference between Myspace and Facebook, but in the end they’re both websites where you can put virtually anything that you feel expresses yourself. They’re both websites where you can make yourself as perfect as you want to be portrayed. They’re both venues through which narcissism is pretty socially acceptable, on some sort of level. I can’t hate on Myspace users too much, because I have a Facebook. While I can say that I like to keep in friends who are far away, I also like that I get my own online space to post pictures or communicate easily with anyone. Myspace doesn’t seem private, but Facebook started out as a college student network, and now anyone can join. Also Mark Zuckerberg supposedly owns your photos and could sell them (I’ve heard and read both sides to this, but either way, it IS personal information posted on the Internet). And pictures of really drunk people are pretty unavoidable on either site. My overall view after viewing random Myspace profiles remains the same; I feel that people have different preferences, and there are people who just feel more comfortable with one site than the other.

I-Dosing as a study break?

For this weeks assignment I decided to do the less risky option of moral panics and explored the world of I-dosing. Since I have heard nothing but horrific stories about Chatroulette I decided to steer clear. When MySpace was the cool online hang out I quickly became obsessed, and used its artistic layouts to express myself. However, I never dabbled in the dangerous aspects of MySpace and left it as soon as it started to fade. This left me seeing MySpace as more of a boring option to choose when exploring technopanics.

I sat down and dove into the world of i-dosing at the end of a long Tuesday and sampled one labeled “Energy Drink”. I found this and many others at Binaural Beats. The reviews had people raving about how well it picked them up when they were feeling sluggish. However, I am not sure how convinced I really was after experiencing it. It was that time of day for me when I feel like ditching the homework and spending the rest of the night lounging around. This made me think I would be the perfect candidate for this virtual pick-me-up.

While experiencing the i-dosing I tried to not be distracted by anything else and let the different sound waves do their dirty work. After about 10-15 minutes of listening I was definitely more alert but I am not sure this had the same effect as a real live energy drink streaming through my system. I feel like having two different sound waves coming directly into your ear drums is comparable to a mental wake up, for the time being. The comments people left were outrageously positive and left me thinking I would never need to drink coffee again. Although, after experiencing it I am not left fully convinced on how affective this really was.

As far as this activity being considered a technopanic I am left unsure here as well. If anything I think that this would harm young people’s eardrums but I do not see the argument that young people are using this outlet as a way to be on another level and also experience any type of high. Maybe if the conditions were different such as higher quality ear phones or at a very high volume I could see a greater impact, but after my experience I was just in awe at how addictive these buzzing and rumbling noises seem to be.

Remix Production

My practicum project is Remix Production. We have all (most-likely) heard or seen a lot of mashups and remixes. They are becoming more and more common in popular music and the tools needed to create these kinds of mixes are becoming more and more user friendly. The point of this practicum is essentially to offer some insight into how they are made, who makes them, and why do we care?

To do this, I will share and explain some different types of mixing. I will make original mixes manipulating picture, audio, audio/video remixes. I will also link to music that has been remixed by others and discuss the issue of originality and copyright issues of remixing. Heres a start:




History of the Internet

The “History of the Internet” animation made the topic much more interesting, but its pace was somewhat hard to follow.  I could not catch all of the narration without pausing the video.

History is often defined by great inventors, as we talked about in class, but this video gives context to the Internet’s rise.  It was very helpful to track it all the way back to the 1950s;  the video allowed me to understand the Internet’s evolution. The video also made some very technical terms much more clear, IMPs in particular.

The US military’s input was also very interesting.  The socio-political climate of the Cold War precipitated the inception of the Internet.  Moving into the near future, the changes that have occurred recently are much more prolific when viewed with respect to the past.  All in all, it was a good video and would have been a great video had the narrator slowed down just a bit.

Reaction to History of the Internet

This video had a very good way of explaining the main concepts, and especially at showing. The images helped understand both what was happening, and what they were trying to avoid (ex: the scene about decentralization, with blowing up one tower, what that would do to the network, then displaying how they combated that threat). All of this sounded like a good review of what we went over in class.

The one thing that put me off guard though, was the part about IMPs. I am a little confused about the point of the mainframe, if they have another computer that is doing all the work, and controling network activities. Why did they need two different mechanisms for what seemed to be doing what one computer was capable of?

I suppose I’m thinking from the 21st century, with mini computers for phones, but I did have to go back over that portion of the video and try to understand a little more clearly.