Blogception!

It’s a blog about blogs. First I guess I’ll just say, I’m not the biggest blog person. I don’t have any that I read every post of. I use them more as supplementary news. I might see a link to one in a news article and read more about a topic. For the most part If I see a blog post on something, if it’s not from a source I know and trust I just pop open google and reasearch the topic myself. Twitter is microblogging, but I mostly just use it like an RSS feed for other sites. The main reason I don’t read blogs is because they are sort of an intermediate between someone posting on facebook and a proper published article. Most of the news or sources that I normally read have a full website, and multiple writers. There more likely to list sources, and are more likely to be held accountable if they say something horrible wrong.

I think thats the real problem that I have with blogs. Like the article points out, ANYONE can post ANYTHING in a blog. That puts the blogosphere in the same realm as people who will tell there oppinion to anyone. We have all seen (and moreso heard) those who would get into an argument in public. They don’t want a disscussion, they want you to hear what they have to say. Sure, you can post a comment, but it’s just not an even give an take. I personally like my news as pretty bland, straight forward information. If it’s a topic I care about, I reasearch the whole situation, or I can even go to a forum for color commentary.

That brings up the question of what good is a blog? I may not get much use from blogs myself, but I do think they have value. I don’t think they can every supplement news….good old accountable news. In the present, I can defend blogs the same way i can free speech. It’s great to have a place where people can say, and ask what they want. It’s a good starting place for actual disscussion and accountable news. You can’t just read a blog and take it as fact. You need to do the in depth research yourself. The news can’t just take a question and ask it, they have to have a platform to ask it from. A political figure being a crook is important, but the headline of “Is he a crook” has weight, as mentioned in the article. That’s why I think blogs should only be step one of information, bringing a topic forward for further inspection.

They also are great in retrospect. You can really see what people were thinking in the moment. In an anthropological sence, you can really see what people were thinking, and why they were thinking it. For something like that, it doesn’t matter if they are correct or not. Similar to an old journal from the past. It might be an interesting as an emerging form of study.

Overall, blogs are fine. The only problem is that people have to understand what they are. Just because it looks like a news article doesn’t mean it has the credability of one. You can’t silence a blog anymore then you can a person on the side of the street. You can’t have someone decide who is credable and who isn’t for you. The first amendment puts that responsabilty on us. It’s buisness as usual, don’t believe everything that you read… except this blog.

Why would we punch trees?

The article makes alot of points, but I think it jumps around a little. It seems to start out on one topic and switch to another. The first being a fear of technology, and the second being being growing old and being less adaptable to technology. I’ll take on each of these individually.

The idea of fearing new technology as Wilson mentions is a popular topic in media. I think he takes that a little out of context. I always saw those types of movies on it’s face as a fear of technology, but moreso as a general fear of the unknown. No real difference from fear of the unknown. Godzilla had more things coming from the unknown depths of the ocean, earth, and space then technology. Considering that we interact with technology every day, it’s understandable that it will come up so much. Something in technology has the chance to come up and change how people live very quickly. I would say I “fear” it about the same way I might fear anything that can force change on you, like government, or your enviroment.

Now onto the main point of his argument. Why do old people hate technology? I think he makes a few good points, but also a few too many generalizations. The idea of children creating schema, trying them and then creating new ones is a sensible statement. But it doesn’t really match the way that someone would interact with technology. The reason that I think this is because while the science and uses of technology can be all logical, so much the interface is arbitrary. It’s some ways it’s not something you can just figure out without somekind of guide, or refrence point.

I’ll make an example. Take for instance a traffic light. If you take someone who has no idea what a traffic light is, or a car for that matter, and put them in front of one by themselves they really have no way of guessing what it does. Red doesn’t intrinsically mean stop. We say it means stop. Give a baby two blocks and he may stack them, but thats not what we are doing. It’s more like giving a baby two blocks, red and blue, and we decided before giving them to the baby that red should be on top and blue should be on bottom. There’s no logic, no trial and error, and the blue block will probbably be on top as much as the red.

This leads to how people interact with technology, and why young people are more adept to it. They are taught more of the arbitrary signals that interface designers use. The “X” in the top right closes the window, all my wordpress navigation tools are a list on the left hand side of the screen, the “format” node has a selection programming and if i click the circle next to an option i know it will deselect the current option. These are things that classes in school, the internet, tv, even video game tutorials have taught me. To someone who doesn’t have these “rosseta stones” to help translate the foriegn language of technology it doesn’t actually mean anything. Here’s a clip from the latest Southpark where the adults learn how to play Minecraft that I think sums it up.

While there have been great strides in this ,most notably being GUI, alot of technology is lacking that teaching element. As the article says, “Zuckerberg didn’t create Facebook for people with kids and mortgages”. This argument that you lose adaptablity with age is a big leap. If me and my dad were to both play a shooting video game, what sounds like a better argument for why I know that red barrels explode when you shoot them and he doesn’t? The fact that I have played 20 games that have exploding red barrels, or the fact that he was born before me? I can’t really say how I will feel about new technology when I’m older, but if given a convenient opportunity to keep up to date with the changing language; I think, i would use it. 

TV, or not TV? That is the question.

I decided to go with a Media-System Dependency Theory examination of television. The first thing I noticed when trying to pick which theory to talk about is the overlap between them. This jumped out at me particularly when thinking of a single viewers dependency on television and finding myself listing off many terms that would probably fall under the catigory of Uses and Gratifications, so with a topic with this many variables I expect some cross over in theory discussion.

On to the topic at hand, I decided to focus my discussion a little bit. The many different interactions involving TV are pretty broad, so I’m focusing on the main ways TV functions as a buisness as I think these dependencies will have the most impact on the future of TV. I’m going to predict the future based on a few dependencies of viewers, and content providers.

First off viewers, viewers are looking for a variety of things when watching TV. First is solitary play. They depend on the TV to be there and entertain them when they are bored. Viewers depend on the TV for social understanding.  I understand that this is a broad term, and also covers aspects like understanding how people interact, what people think, ext. I’m just going to focus on aspects like news, from national elections down to things like local weather. These are two of the biggest dependencies we have on TV.

One big dependency that Content providers have is on viewers watching. That is the buisness that they are in. Viewers watch, and through subscriptions or advertising they make money. Here comes the part where I pridict the future. The problem that TV faces is that there are other media forms that would fill the dependency viewers have on TV. Luckily for them, TV in the past created a huge dependency on viewers, and it’s not something that is easily broken. However, the younger demographics are not instilled with these dependencies like thier parents were, and are more open to competition.

So how does TV compete? I think their best option is quality content. I personnally don’t watch alot of TV anymore. I feel that the internet meets my needs of solitary play better than TV. I do however have a different dependency on TV. I depend on TV as a “Breaking Bad” delievery system. I can’t (legally and reliably) watch specific content like Breaking Bad, Anthony Bordain’s “Parts Unknown”, ext, without TV (DVR). I can get the weather on my phone, I can’t get it from Al Roker from my phone.

The basic idea that I’m getting at is TV needs to focus on this kind of change in dependency. They aren’t the only game in town anymore, and while some people may prefer TV for solitary play, or the news; Viewers don’t have to depend on it for these things. I think TV could learn from competitions in industries like Video games, and Opperating systems in this regard. Gamers don’t have to rely on Nintendo for video games, because there is Microsoft, and Sony but they have to rely on them for Mario. Computer users don’t rely on IOS for running thier computer and phone, because there is Microsoft and Android, but they rely on them for Programs like Final Cut, and cross platform programs like Itunes. I think they need to make that their focus pretty soon, because with the internet creating more viable “shows”, services like Netflix getting exclusives like “House of Cards”; it seems, TV may be losing that dependency too.

How to stare at screens 101

Communication technology has played a big role in my personal learning. I can’t think of one huge overarching type in particular, but I certainly have used alot of them. Everyone in the course can probably relate to the things like Blackboard, online books, and even email. I can list plenty more, from the tablet integration over at speed school, having online documents, powerpoints being posted online, online lectures, full online courses (I have taken one), online library services (which are fantastic), all the way back to me playing “The Great Math Adventure” and trying to find Carmen Sandiego. Then you get to the question of whether or not all this tech has been helpful. To that I would have to say that it has had a positive effect overall. These techs have solved problems of communicating with teachers, managing files, some just being convienent.

I probably learned as much from Howie the bear, and Stinky the skunk as I did any math text book.

I probably learned as much from Howie the bear, and Stinky the skunk as I did any math text book.

Now onto the articles that we read. The first topic is E-Readers, and online books. This issue to me is pretty similar to the digital audio issue. I see the benifits of the all digital world, but I still feel more drawn to physical copies of books. I don’t particularly like digital books. I read alot of online articles, but they are tailer made for websites. Digital books are often just pure text, or copies of the physical books layout. They lack the kind of design that makes online articles work for me, and lack the functionality that make physical books work for me. Similar to the complaints in the article about it taking time to find a page, or use sticky notes. I can’t really say that its a problem holding E-books back (considering how fast their use is growing), but I would really appreaciate an overhall of the user interface. Allow me to treat it like physical book, with notes, highlights, quick page changing, and at the same time highlight e-book features like word search, toggle on and off notes/highlights, links, videos, images, ext.

The secound article I really liked. I’ve been intreged by the idea of this kind of online video class for a while now. My first introduction to it was Khan Academy, which is basically a video lecture service combined with online quizes and a progress tracker (Here is a CBS story if you want more). The part that I like about Khan Academy is it switches the lecture and practice parts of learning. Instead of using the teacher interaction to lecture/ students do homework on their own, give the lecture online/ teacher can help students do practice work. I like that kind of idea, but at the same time I recognize that one way of teaching can never work for every type of class. I think that is the problem that happens with MOOC too.

As someone who loves to listen to podcast, interviews, panels, and lectures online. I love the idea of having another type outlet for information. I personnaly just like hearing people who know what they are talking about talk about it, and learning from them. It also allows people to interact with lectures when they want to. A person can quote their favorite movie, because they are in the mood and attentive when they watch it; But being in the mood every monday-wednesday-friday from 9:00-10-15 for 15 weeks isn’t something you can just do. These are just a few of the points on a subject that I can’t really imagine confined to one blog. This presents alot of variables to consider. You can look at it from some many angles, from limiting factors like high speed internet among low income households, unintended negative social effects of homogenized learning (one professor teaching 100,000 students), to uninteded negative health conserns of eye strain. With all those thoughts fighting it out in my head to get mentioned, i think ill cut this post off here. 

DAMN !!! Digital Audio Media Notes…

I’m assuming most people in the class are like me and listen to digital audio music. I personnally listen to it mostly on my i-pod and computer. LP’s and most other forms of analog audio are a little too combersome, expensive, and harder to come by. If i were to think about why I listen to music (in a uses and gratifications sense)I would say i listen to it to relax, pass the time, and as something to think about. I would certainly say I have a dependence on it to some degree. I could easily listen to it for a few hours in a day.

One way I might be different from some of my classmates on digital music is that I still buy CD’s. The main reasons for that is prices and DRM. The idea of buying a license of a song, or limiting the format and uses of a CD are really unappealing to me. I would put DRM as a undesirable, unanticipated, and direct effect of the fast populartity of digital music. I doubt that the first thing people thought about when shown the convienince of Online downloading was a bit of coding that limited it’s use. I usually just go to gohasting, and buy a used CD for the price of two or three songs on Itunes, spend 10 minuets uploading it in to Itunes, then I have an Itunes compatable digital copy, a digital copy that I have full rights to (burn, store, copy), and a physical product that i can easily share or trade.

Lastly one part of the book that really stood out for me was “The Long Tail”, and it shows my favorite benifit of digital media, which is the availability of less popular content. I’m not to big on pirating music, so it really annoys me when it’s hard to give someone money and get the music you want. Smaller bands, or a foreign artists who have limited physical copies avalible in the states can become expensive fast:

$120 new, $50 used, or $8.99 MP3

Import albums,$24 from amazon, $15+ from lesser known 3rd party sellers, or $8.99 MP3

having that ~$10 option is nice.