Designing Culture – New Text – 1

The book I chose for this assignment is Designing Culture by Anne Balsamo. I chose this book since I was impressed by the reviews on Amazon which emphasized the deep connect between culture and technology. After doing some research online, I became completely in awe of  Anne Balsamo. As a new media theorist she does a thorough job of presenting her work.
I think as important as theory is in this field, it has to be backed by some sort of obvious practice. Anne Balsamo’s website related to this book is so very interesting. One can easily tell she spent a ton of time, creating a interactive Flash website. I often notice how few scholars, write heavily about technology, but they fail to invest time in their blogs or websites. Since this is a transmedia project, it makes sense to collectively read the print version of the book, and to go through the contents in the website as well. The website was a bit more interesting to me, as it kept me engaged the entire time.Below is an overview of the contents of the website:

Print:  This page has a brief introduction to the author, her research interests, and a brief description of the book.

DVD: The print version of the book is accompanied by a DVD, titled “Women of the World Talk Back”. This resource is on feminist activism, and how it is affected by multimedia.

Exhibits:  This is the most interesting page in the entire site. It has many interactive exhibits. And furthermore, it has a Marshall McLuhan analyzer, that presents the exhibit based on what he would have to say about it.

Wall:  This page has many interesting wall books, which take the user on a journey through the histories of reading. Again, the use of flash to build these pages is outstanding.

Maps: This page has a bunch of amazing mind maps, that present topics such as the museum, technology etc. It basically maps the technological imagination.

Videos: Here are a collection of videos, related to topics in the book. Some of them are created by Balsamo, but few of them are her selections of interactive applications.

Blog: Here Balsamo basically goes into length to discuss some key aspects of her book.

Below, is a presentation of Balsamo talking about the book a few weeks before it released. In the presentation she talks about the highly interesting subject of technology and culture by the numbers. She also focuses on the transmedia aspect of her project, and gives us a short introduction to the book. This video is worth a watch to get the author’s perspective and context of the book.

Balsamo, Anne. Designing Culture: The Technological Innovation at Work. Duke University Press, 2011. Print


IT & R JavaScript Tutorial – Overall Reflection

After some rigorous bonding with JavaScript, I feel I can confidently say I know a lot more about this programming language than I did before. I have to admit it is not as complicated as I thought it was. However, it’s a vast language, and it will take me sometime to master all the intricacies of the script in this language. Here is a brief overlook of what I learnt from the previous tutorials

IT & R 1

  • How to start a JavaScript section within an HTML document
  • Code to write within the head tags
  • How to create interactive Alert boxes

IT & R 2

  • Creating forms
  • Creating objects
  • Finding and learning from useful JavaScript related tutorials on the web

IT & R 3

  • JavaScript code is usually not used independently, it is inserted within HTML files to make pages more interactive
  • Found some cool JavaScript websites which had sliding and scrolling features.
  • Got an understanding of how JavaScript was used in Pinterest.

As a final exercise, I used Codeacademy to learn the basic JavaScript coding. There were a total of eight JavaScript practice lessons. This, by far taught me the most about this programming language, and I also had a lot of fun practicing each lesson.  I was stuck at a few points, after Lesson 5 but I went back to the previous lesson, and built up my skills. Codeacademy has Q & A forums that help users understand where they went wrong. I didn’t feel like a novice, since the code was not given, but I had to understand, and correct myself.

Thanks to Codeacademy I feel confident about doing the following in JavaScript:

  • Creating question boxes
  • Creating Alert boxes
  • Doing Math calculations
  • Playing with Numbers
  • Creating assigning and declaring variables
  • The difference between Lower Case and Upper Case code
  • Assigning strings and substrings
  • Substituting and replacing code
  • Writing comments
  • Assigning array values
  • What if/else statement

IT & R JavaScript Tutorial 3 is the example I chose, for discussion about JavaScript. The reason I chose this is because it’s one of the popular websites, built completely in JavaScript. The interface design, can be one of the major reasons for individuals accepting this site so readily. Although the website may not seem very dynamic, it is a highly interactive site. The design is quite simple, but the interface is very user friendly. There is an option to switch between people, pins, and boards. Transitioning from one page to another, and opening various pinned items is very easy.

Unlike many websites that are heavily loaded with content, this site has absolutely no issues.   It almost functions as a search engine, as it stores a ton of information. A separate section is allotted for videos. The categorization feature helps users to search within the website. Each section, genre, and category are properly demarcated, and available to click on when the user wants to. Thus, Pinterest functions as a great example for utilizing the JavaScript programming language.

IT & R – JavaScript Tutorial 2

This week I decided to learn something more significant about JavaScript, and found a YouTube channel that had forty tutorials just for beginners like me. Although I must admit I didn’t get through watching every single video, I watched at least 20-25 that seemed important in terms of the JavaScript language. Some of them were related to if/else statement, forms, and objects. I will confidently recommend this channel to anyone wanting to learn basic principles of coding in JavaScript. The videos are simple, easy to follow and the best part is one can simultaneously code in a program like Notepad++ while the guy gives out step-by-step instructions. Below I’ve added the first tutorial that’s an intro to JavaScript tutorial. I started learning coding by following step-by-step instructions from a book, therefore these tutorials really helped me ease into the process of practicing coding in JavaScript.

Another major plus point about the presentation in these tutorials is the way JavaScript is taught as a basic programming language. The other tutorials like the ones from W3C schools that I experimented with, were so complex and advanced, they gave me a sense that JavaScript was too intensive to learn in a short period of time. However, the YouTube tutorials that I mentioned above are a lot more helpful in terms of the mastering few of the important practical concepts of JavaScript.