The Vogeler

It's All About Technology

Reflection Post December 14, 2009

Filed under: Assignment — kvogel21 @ 12:56 pm
Tags: , , ,

Kathleen M Vogel

Com 495

Reflective Essay

I took this Communications 495 course initially for two very basic reasons: 1) It was a Communications course that fit within my schedule 2) The title “blogging” sounded interesting to me. However, I realized that after completing all the assignments, readings, listening to the lecture-discussion leaders, and creating a blog that this course has enlightened me to the seemingly endless possibilities in web publishing.

Assignments

One of the first assignments was to set up our Com 495 blog. This was such an eye opening experience to me. I had always thought that getting my own website would be hard to set up, and would cost money. However, both of these assumptions were wrong. I set up my account within a few minutes at the end of class and did not spend any money in the process. Although this “free with-out  premium features model” was satisfying initially, as I invested more time in blogging, I learned that “free” on the web often meant “limited” as I wanted more designs, colors, and widgets.

Another assignment I completed was researching qualities of the better blogs on the web. This was another great moment for me as I figured out what I had been doing wrong. For instance, I noticed that some of the better blogs used bullet points and numbers to help readers follow along. From a practical standpoint this changed the way I wrote in the future. Instead of writing longer formal paragraphs I tried to simplify my writing so at a quick glance a reader could easily understand my main points.

Readings

One of my favorite readings from Com 495 was the reading on convergence entitled Your Television is Ringing. I thought this article was a great way of examine how technologies companies in cable, internet, land lines, and cell phones are converging together to provide bundle opportunities for customers.  Before this class I assumed that bundles were essentially “good” for the consumer as it gave them a better deal. After reading the Television is Ringing, however, I developed a different perspective which promoted, instead, the need for competition and specialization of companies to provide superb customer service – not just a great price.

Lectures

I thoroughly enjoyed lectures in this course because they helped develop my blogs in incorporating Youtube videos, pictures, and creative commons images, and obtaining content. Before this class my searching for content was done via Google search, which although helpful, was only one source of searching. After being engaged in lecture, discussions, and lab I now have learned the value of using sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Stumbleupon, Delicious, Digg, and many others to find content for my  blog(s).  Creative commons was also a helpful term to understand in creating content on the web. I learned how to do an advanced search in Flickr for only creative commons images to avoid copyright infringement. In addition, the implementation of the creative commons license discussion/lab helped me to inform web users to my policy on copying my content.

Project: Blog

For my project I decided to create another blog at http://theartfan.wordpress.com. From creating and updating a blog I experienced many challenges and successes that opened my eyes to publishing my work on the internet. One of the difficulties I experienced was how time intensive the process became after initially getting the website up a running. For instance, in discovering content to write about I would search the internet for sometimes hours – obviously getting distracted along the way. Eventually, I would find something to talk about and then write another article which depending on length would also take an average of another hour to post. Then I would repeat this process. Meanwhile, marketing the blog became another whole dimension that due to my previous time constraints I only glazed the surface. For instance, I commented on other blogs occasionally referencing my own. Ultimately what I learned is that when I start another blog I will have a team of people discovering, creating, and commenting on content. For instance, I noticed in class that another student (i.e. Liz Lantz) was covering similar content and if we would have realized this sooner perhaps we could have teamed up. I think that organizing a blogging team would make the entire process more interactive and fun.

Another thing I learned is that in order to get exactly what I want with widgets, and designs I would want to buy software like Artisteer and obtain a different host. I really liked one of the sites shown in class with this software and I think that after experiencing the limitations of free web hosting by wordpress.com, I am better prepared to spend some money to enhance the look of my blog/website. In addition, by using other hosts I could have a blog supplemented by Google advertising which is a fantastic way to make some money with a blog.

Final Reflection Remarks

Upon reflection, Com 495 laid a great foundation for my future in online publishing. What seemed difficult and expensive to even begin, was an assumption that was quickly overturned. The assignments led me through a process of writing for the web rather than writing a formal research paper.  The readings provided added material which explained concepts such as convergence and copyright in ways that made me understand the issues. Many different sites in lecture were examined and discussed which aided me in discovering and illustrating my content creation. Lastly, my project blog experience led me to understand that bloggers should definitely be respected for the time that it takes to discover content, create content, design the site, and market the site.

From this class I will take with me the desire to create more web content and explore what other digital technologies are out there. I now realize that I am excited to pursue not only consuming internet content but also creating it in the future.

Advertisements
 

Com 495 – Top 5 Helpful Sites for Blogging December 12, 2009

 

1) Youtube – After learning how to put youtube links in the blog  (i.e. and seeing how easy this becomes this has been one of the most helpful for me in blogging. It is nice to have a visual representation of what I am talking about so that everyone knows what I am talking about.

2) Slideshare – Call me crazy but I had never used this site before taking Com 495 at the University of Washington. I never realized it was so easy to share on wordpress. This was a great tool for sharing picture too. This is definately something to explore. 

3) Zamzar – When you need to convert files in order to use on your blog, this site is great for this! I have struggled with the conversion of files so much in the past that this has been a godsend when it comes to doing this.  

4) Creative Commons – For this, two sites actually are important.

4a)One is the creative commons licensing that I learned how to copy paste into my site. This allows other readers to see what my policy is on using my work.  

4b) Flickr – The other site is flickr because this site also lets users to an advanced search by creative commons pictures. Before this class, I had no idea that I should have been more careful with copyright and use these tools, not only to protect my work but to prevent me to taking unlawfully others work. Plus, it has loads of picture to choose from.  

5) Delicious – Finding new stuff to explore, discovering new content. Plus bookmarking it. This site helps bloggers do it all is seems.

I am pretty sure everyone in our class has explored all of these sites at this point, but if you haven’t take a look again. For instance, create a powerpoint with music, put it on slideshare and post it on wordpress. This process before seemed too difficult and now it is a reality. I have learned a lot about blogging in this course and I hope to find many more sites that are just as helpful.

 

Guilty News Pleasures: Uncle Jay Explains the News December 5, 2009

Here is how I have been getting my news:

1) I read the University of Washington Daily Newspaper– 2) I read my gmail RSS Reader- 3) I specifically look for news that others discuss in class or at home – 4) or I stumble upon it or see it on TV as I surf, or on the radio

How this must Change: Too Much News Leading to Guilty Pleasures

Through all these different mediums you can imagine how I can get bogged down with too much information. As a result, I am always looking for simplified versions of the news that give me the highlights of the news stories. I also enjoy a format of news that makes fun the situations that celebrities, politicians, businesses put themselves into. Knowing this, my sister led me away from my tendency of watching the Colbert Report, and Jon Stewart and showed me her one news update that she watches weekly…and that is Uncle Jay’s Explains the News . A guilty pleasure news source we now both enjoy.

Here is a Sample from this past September that I thought would especially apply to us as bloggers:

This 3 minute video discusses blogs and how it is different than “professional” Journalism.

History of the Show:

Uncle Jay is Jay Gilbert a Cinncinati radio broadcaster who in the mid 1990’s developed the show on a local television station. However, later he decided to produce and create the content on his own as “technology had reached the point where [he] could pretty much do it all [him]self and post it on the web.” His website now gets 20,000 hits per week with over 130 videos on youtube.

What I like about Uncle Jay:

He simplifies the news. Its short and sweet. It makes fun of everyone it seems! It summarizes the information for you while also providing entertainment.  He is very consistent – Every Monday he comes out with a new 3 minute video explaining the previous weeks news.

What I dislike about Uncle Jay’s Program:

Sometimes it seems like he talks down to the viewers.  Also his technological skills are a bit limited in the video format. He summarizes a full week full of news in 3 minutes which can be limited as well. He has to pick and choose what he thinks is not only important while also being entertaining for everybody.   

Overall, watching this program has got me to wonder about the importance that we place on specific news sources. My sister barely reads any other news sources so Uncle Jay’s 3 minute segment and it is the primary news source for her. However, I read a few other sources that give me a bit more a background/contextual knowledge on some of the issues. I think that a program like Uncle Jay is great as a supplemental news material but can be VERY limited if it is our sole base of information. We should all try to broaden our scopes a bit and make sure be well grounded in facts, and context…however, what’s the harm in a bit of humor as well.

Check out a few of his most recent episodes  . What are some of your most guilty humorous news sources? Let me know…I would love to check them out.

Uncle Jay on Wikipedia

 

Media’s Post-Apocalyptic World November 28, 2009

Filed under: Assignment — kvogel21 @ 11:59 pm

The world is going to end…soon. We all have heard this comment some time or another either from a person we know, don’t know or whatever. Anyway, I have begun to see this reoccurring theme of the “world as we know it is gone/changing and we just have to survive.”

Here are a few examples just to name a few: 2012, Day after Tomorrow, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Zombieland.

Generally I like post-apocalyptic scenarios. For instance, 1984 is seen by many as one of the best and most thought provoking visions of a dystopian future. However,  recently the movies like Day after Tomorrow and Journey to the center of the Earth seem to appeal to an audience that just wants to blow stuff up.

Plus the media seems to be playing on the fears of people without addressing any form of reality with something as serious as global warming/climate change. For instance, in the film Day after Tomorrow the Earth rapidly changes into an ice bucket of a place where few survive. The reality is much less dramatic with climate change happening slowly….very slowly. According to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change that the probability of the thermohaline circulation shutting down [as depicted in this film] is not very likely. If it were to occur as suggested in the film with a rapid change,  it would probably not happen within the next hundred years.

2012 basically argues something similar to Day after Tomorrow with our planet basically changing so drastically that all of our major cities are shown falling into the earth or being pushed outward. It seemed very unrealistic preying upon the fears of the global warming proponents trying to get the message out that doing nothing will lead to this end – everything in ruins. I just don’t buy it. If you want to watch a movie just to see things freeze or blow up with no regard to what could really happen scientifically then go ahead and watch them. As for me, I want my 4+ hours back for these two movies.

Zombieland also takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, but I feel that with its comedic intent it deserves no such scrutiny as the previous mentioned blockbuster films. Zombieland stayed true to the reality of the “what if” situation. I loved how it mentioned double tapping the zombies just to be sure they are dead.

All I can say is avoid the 2012, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Day after Tomorrow…if you intend to get anything other than blown up stuff. Personally, I am a bit tired of these attempts at quality post-apocalyptic film making. Do other films – try comedy …but movies today have big 1984 shoes to fill.

 

Deliciously Wikid

Filed under: Assignment — kvogel21 @ 11:03 pm

For my project website I am focusing mainly on postmodern or contemporary art which is defined in wikipedia as “art produced at this present point in time or art produced since World War II”

Here are a couple examples of contemporary art that I am interested in as noted by wikipedia:

street art, happenings, body art,  live art, as well as many others. In fact, I may be covering similar art happenings as Liz’s blog known as so good so bad so ugly. I am sure there will be enough art to blog about for all – look forward to seeing what we find.

When I cross referenced street art with delicious it gave me a few more sites to check out. For instance, I found Mark Jenkins an artist that constructs street art.

Here are a few of his pictures just to give you an idea.

Mark Jenkins Pic

Mark Jenkins Pic

So if this type of art interests you at all, you should definitely check out my latest updates on my blog theartfan.wordpress. com. I have some other interesting stuff that always makes me laugh or mesmerizes me into viewing more.

 

Google Reader + Stumble = Awesomeness November 21, 2009

Filed under: Assignment — kvogel21 @ 10:06 pm

Ever since I knew about Google Reader it has simplified the way in which I read the news. Before knowing about this technology I would wander aimlessly on the internet going painstakingly to specific sites to find information – oftentimes only one or two I would actually have time to read. Now I happily sift through my selected subscriptions and let the world come to me. It is a great informational and sharing tool which I now use on a daily basis.

In anticipation for this next week though (as a discussion leader) I found a similar social networking/sharing tool on the web which helps to sift information for us to read/view and then easily share with others. This led me to stumbleupon.

Why use StumbleUpon?

According to their about page Stumbleupon “filters through vast amount[s] of information on the web to direct Stumblers to high quality web sites which are relevant to their personal interests.” This is helpful for anyone that wants to be stumbling on the internet just browsing for interesting content that is both rated high by other users and relates to your own personal interests.

Advantages/Disadantages of Stumbling vs. Searching

Searching using Google or Yahoo are a couple ways to find information and are great for those that know exactly what they want to find. Specificity is great for these search tools. What is difficult about searching though is that you have to know what you want. Stumbling resolves this issue. What is awesome about Stumbling is that you can just run into things that you never knew were out there (let alone search for them).

How I describe Stumbleupon

If you like sites like Pandora radio for music I would say that stumbling is very similar to this format for video as well as artistic content.  For both sites they ask you for your preferences and provide you with content to suit those preferences. Both sites ask for thumbs or thumbs down to aid in their providing content. The difference obviously is that for Pandora you can just let it run like radio without having to push a stumble button. Other than that though they both provide a sifting stumbling like service for users who just want to be entertained by others content  that is similar to their interests.

More Information

If this blog entry has not already piqued your interest. Then here are some other articles written about this company that may give you more information.  Most recently the company founders sold it to Ebay for 75 Million big ones, but later bought it back.

This is exciting to many people who expect more features and additions to the community oriented and sharing website that they already use. Without big boy Ebay getting in the way perhaps the founders will give the people more of what they want… I am excited! – This is another way for me to find information Google Reader, Pandora, and now Stumbler. If you haven’t started stumbling, I would today.

Ebay Buys StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon Breaks Free from Ebay

8 Fun Sites I found “Stumbling”:

1) Invisible Man – http://www.stumbleupon.com/s/#1ltPoj/v1kram.posterous.com/liu-bolinthe-invisible-man/

 

Getting Under Your Skin…A digital interface? November 14, 2009

Filed under: Assignment — kvogel21 @ 11:56 pm

Gizmodo recently released an article which mentioned how an engineer named Jim Mielke introduced a digital interface technology which can be implanted in your body with the outward appearance of a body tatoo. Mielke showcased this wireless digital interface (aka… basically a phone) that has the potential to be powered by your blood after being connected to vein and artery which converts it to glucose then oxygen and then to electricity. The article emphasized how this was simply a “concept” and was not being mass marketed outside of the Greener Gadgets Design Competition. However, the idea fascinates me in thinking about what this could mean to people who used it.

Benefits & Creepiness

The benefits of this technology are obvious-  you would not longer have to carry around your iphone, but instead they could just put the technology inside of you. We can assume that there were be no more need of using so much energy for charging a cell phone or even looking for a lost phone. Also for those people that need to buy the next version of the technology coming out regardless of its costs..Line right up for the “digital tatoo.” However, the issues that make this product a bit difficult to mass market are abundantly obvious for many people. I think the word to describe how people would feel about this potential product is..well… CREEPY!

Safety

After reading through many comments following this article the concern over safety seemed to come up again and again. Even though people WANT the latest gadget, consumers NEED safety gaurantees for products that will be inside their bodies. There are those that argue that their are health benefits from this kind fo device since it would help monitor blood disorders in case their was a problem. However, people already freak out over radiation with cell phones that we currently use.  What would happen if the cell phone technology was inside our bodies?  I am not a doctor by any means…but I am hesitant to believe that the result would be better. What if the body rejected the device? What if there were future upgrades and we needed surgery every time we needed an update/change/ modification in the gadget? Scary thoughts..which need reassurance?

Privacy

Also, invasion of privacy is an issue with this technology. I have read a lot about the potential for RFID chip technology in humans which has had similar complaints and arguments. Will this device have some form of GPS where others can follow us? Will the government get involved and use these for identification purposes. Will I ever have time alone without technology gadgets trying to get my attention. Crazy thoughts now – but technologies in the past have had crazier suspicions. 

Latest Fashion

Althought some people already have tatoos, and some may argue that it would not be a huge step for those to implant something useful underneath them.  I would argue that the majority of people would be skeptical of any technology that would permanently change the way their body looked. In a world consumed with how you look – this type of cyborg look just isn’t in fashion 

Obviously, this is just a technology that is at it’s “concept” phase of development and has not proceeded to mass market or mass produce however, I think the creepiness of products like these literally gets under our skin and wakes us up to the reality of the freedoms that we may not appreciate. Maybe losing a Iphone is a better alternative to having an implanted device in your arm. Maybe using energy to charge a cell phone is not such a bad thing in comparison to having your own blood keeping the gadget “alive.” The future will decide.