Individual Tutorial

JavaScript = Any browser = Many users

For the Individual Tutorial and Reflection project I want to work on JavaScript. Although I’m very tempted to explore Ruby, and HTML5 I’ve heard too much about the usefulness of JavaScript. I took one web design course in a community college, and learnt about HTML4, XHTML, CSS, and was introduced to JavaScript. However, since that was a one semester course, we could never get around to mastering the programming language. I feel I’m at a place where I can experiment with coding in JavaScript, and actually learn some significant skill in this area. Now that I already know a lot about its background, and a little of how it works in webpages, by the end of this course if I’m able to code using JavaScript that’s something that going to go right into my resume. Therefore, JavaScript it is! (But, I’m still going to maintain that Ruby rocks, and HTML5 seems super interesting in terms of the future of programming languages)


Reflection on Blogs

I commented on the following classmates blog posts – Amanda, Cheri, Diane, Eric, Jennifer and Susanne.

It was great to see so many perspectives on just two particular weekly topics. I concentrated on the blogs about the first few chapters in Lingua Fracta, and the ones that dealt with “Do Androids Dream of Electric sheep” by Philip K Dick. I found myself struggling a bit with both these books, but more with the novel. I think others blogs served as a review for these chapters/books. I was excited about the various fun videos/images I would get to see, but suprisingly the content in each blog was far more engaging.  The posts contributed to my learning by giving me a better understanding, and clarity with the five rhetorical canons.

TIP OF THE DAY: To gain a better understanding in complex concepts, go read a PhD students blog.

The Language of New Media (Post # 1)

Lev Manovich’s book,  The Language of New Media does a complete dissection of the term “New Media”. It is undoubtedly a complex work with a highly detailed introduction section, and thoroughly researched chapters. Apart from reading the first two chapters I read some online reviews of the book, read about the author and searched for content online in relation to the book. I found Lev Manovich’s blog which can be a useful resource for anyone interested in New Media related Studies.

Chapter 1 – What is New Media?

I found a short video that had the definitions of the five important principles in Chapter 1. This video is worth a watch for clear definitions and explanations/examples given for each of the five terms.

The latter part of this chapter talks about all the misinformation related to the term “new media”. I agree with the author’s claim that New Media helps users to become authors of someone’s work. For example, in this blog post I am interpreting Lev Manovich’s work, adding further meaning to it, and presenting it. Thus, although the original written work belongs to Lev Manovich, New Media facilitates in bringing together different online resources so I can re-write my own interpretation of his work.

Chapter 2 – The Interface

“As distribution of all forms of culture becomes computer-based, we are increasingly “interfacing” to predominantly cultural data: texts, photographs,films, music, virtual environments. In short, we are no longer interfacing to a computer but to culture encoded in digital form” (80).

Lev Manovich - Representing the Mac culture

Lev Manovich author of "The Language of New Media"

Based off the image above, I have an my own illustrative example. If computers can be considered as cultural texts, I clearly see two emerging cultures, the PC and Mac culture. I have always been a PC user, and find myself at ease in this culture. However, in certain settings I am required to interface with the Mac culture as well. Thus, my illustration clearly shows how distribution of all forms of culture has become extensively technology-based.

Manovich, Lev. The Language of New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001. 1-111. Print.

LF: Chapters 5-8

Aristotle - The Rhetor

Aristotle on Style – “Authors should compose without being noticed, and should seem to speak not artificially but naturally” (118).

Perspective (Style)

“…it is impossible to account sufficiently for the relationship between the visual and the verbal in a single chapter, particularly when there are entire books on this subject” (114).

The above quote shows how perspective is a complex yet an important concept in terms of the way something is said/portrayed.  Simply put style is the casual versus the formal manner that is adopted when something is verbally said, or visually represented.

Plato - Phaedrus

Plato on Memory – ” If men learn this, it will implant forgetfulness in their souls, they will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written, calling things to remembrance no longer from within themselves, by means of external marks” (145).

Persistence (Memory)
I wrote in my previous blog post about how memory is losing its importance, as more different types of texts, and technologies are being utilized to do the job of storing information. A great example of this is the search engine Google. It receives, regurgitates and provides large amounts of information. It’s just easier on individuals to go back to google, rather than to rack their own brains.

Performance (Delivery)
If you want to do a google image search or YouTube search for the canon of delivery, type ” rhetorical canon of delivery” instead of just “delivery”.

Trimbur’s asserts in terms of delivery and medium that “ may look at first glance to be a traditional genre exercise, but in fact, it involves much more”
This makes me think about the  Conference proposals I’m drafting for two other courses this semester. I’m at my wit’s end trying to say all the right things strictly within the 250-500 word limit. Although it’s a teeny abstract, sometimes what is intended is not rightly delivered, especially in the genre of conference proposals.

Brooke, Collin Gifford. Lingua Fracta: Toward a Rhetoric of New Media. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton, 2009. 113-201. Print

LF: Chapters 1-4

The Lingua Fracta textbook came as a suprise to me, since I expected New-Media  and Rhetoric to meet in an article of few pages, rather than in a book. Since chronologically, these topics are so widely apart from one another. I was compelled to read the preface which further elaborated that this book was aimed at creating an encounter between technology and rhetoric.

Hypertext binds together a variety of positions, tones, voices, authors, and contexts, but it does not do so in the interests of a single thesis or focus (4).
Chapter one about interface focused on Hypertext, and I was thinking about how hypertext is extensively used on the internet these days. We continuosly link terms back and forth, and make connections. I found a video that aptly justifies the use of the term “apocalypse” in this chapter.

5 Rhetorical Canons

Chapter 2 about Ecology introduced me to a few new terms. One term that I researched further was “media ecology“, and I found out that is was not so new after all. This chapter also revisited the famous classical rhetorical canons. Page 29 talks about how delivery and memory are largely fading in importance as texts are becoming less oral, and more in the written form. I thought the image below interestingly demonstrates that very nature of the canon of memory.

“Rather than focusing on the process of individual writers, hypertext criticism is an intervention in ecologies of culture, claiming that hypertext was inherently incompatible with the tradional figure of the author” (62). 

Reading the introduction of chapter three gave me a sense that although hypertexting helps the author in making connections, it also hinders the process of invention in writing. Furthermore, it also gave me the idea that technology is a large distinguishing factor between the traditional, and the mordern author. I tried googling “Proairesis” to get a better idea about the concept, but all I could find was information about “prohairesis” with an h. However, I found a blog titled “Proairesis”, with a very apt comic strip to represent the concept.

On a quest to roller skate

Chapter four in this text discusses pattern in terms of sequence, data mining, databases, mapping, and mining. I always feel the toughest part of being an  English major is adapting to the canon of arrangement. Yet, this chapter gives high importance to the subject of arrangment. WordPress for me is a writing tool that makes arrangement such an easy process. The concept of Pages, widgets, categories, archives, tags makes the content so easily understandable for the reader. It also gives the writer the power to direct the readers in the way that they wish to.

Brooke, Collin Gifford. Lingua Fracta: Toward a Rhetoric of New Media. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton, 2009. 1-112. Print

NM: Key Concepts: Chapters 5 – 8

New Media - The Key Concepts


Chapter five in New Media: The Key Concepts, talks about Archives. This chapter gave me a sense of how it is next to impossible to keep any secrets in the digital world anymore. Infact, the word privacy is largely having a cliched connotation today. This latest timeline feature on facebook  shows us how the largest networking site is able to records all the countless events in an individual’s life,on a single profile page.


Great example of Software & Hardware Interactivity

In terms of the human-machine interaction, most of us come across this on a daily basis. I was a proud “dumbphone” owner for as long as I can remember. Last year, I was compelled to teach an elder how to use their blackberry. It was like the less knowing human going to teach the least knowing human, on how to use a very alien technology. I’m a computer person, and I can get around most softwares with ease. But the smartphone in question was the Blackberry Bold  9900 series phone. The problem arised since I’ve never used a blackberry before. This being the most advanced of all the preceding series, took me a good one month to master. I’m convinced I’m using the longer method to call the voicemail number, since it takes me a good 10-12 clicks to hear a voice message. Therefore my interactivity with machine in question is still “good from far, and far from good”

 “For Baudrillard, this culture of simulation has three key and interrelated features. The first is that computer modelling can be used to design and ‘crash-test’ objects or ideas by running them through imaginary scenarios that predict and perhaps shape events before htey take place. The second is that reality gives way to hyperreallity – that which is more real than the real”.
(Location: 2306 of 3244)

Second life is popularly growing social networking site, that is evidently different from the networking sites we often use. On this site, an individual creates a simulated online version of themselves, and interacts with other simulated characters on the network. Although highly creepy I think this site a breakthrough for simulated communication technologies. A great example of what this site has achieved is they regularly conduct real-time concerts, and raise funds for charity organizations.

Gane, N. and D. Beer. (2008) New Media: The Key Concepts. New York: Berg Publishers.

DADES: Chapters 1-5

TIP OF THE DAY: The only way to make a non-fiction reader read a sci-fi book is to assign it as a textbook.

A sleeping android

A Sleeping & Dreaming Android

Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick was an highly engaging read for me, since I picked up a sci-fi book after a very very long time. My first thoughts after reading  few chapters was that this author was definitely thinking about Dinosaurs while writing this novel. I was always suspicious of the existence of real Dinosaurs on the face of the earth, even with all the fossil findings. Moreover,today all that remains of them are wonderfully animated movies, toys, and some so called “museums”.

After reading the first chapter I was taken aback by the concept of dialing, although I know for a fact dialing nowadays gets a tonne of work done. Yet, I still agreed with the mood 888 – The desire to watch TV no matter what’s on it. Wall-E is one of my all time favorite  Post-Apocalyptic sci-fi movie (it is a must-watch too). I would say the story in this novel is a lot like that movie. with machines that emote moods and feelings, and a very explicit underlying green message for the audience.

Dick, Philip K. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? New York: Ballantine, 1996. 1-60. Print