Cybertyping inflates the 500 pound gorilla.

October 30, 2007

Cybertyping is a term to describe the distinctive ways that the internet propagates, compiles and proliferates images of race and racism. Like most forms of racism this finds it’s orbit in relation to stereotypes, prejudice, and paying far too much attention to every twit who finds himself planted in front of a keyboard with an American Online account. Before I elaborate I need to pin down my reader (singular. Hi Dave) and explain that I am not only well aware of the devastating effects discrimination can have on an individuals confidence and life, but that I’m going to officially admit to some validity to the notions presented behind Cybertyping. Notions that when presented on paper read rather well, but practical application of this or any mindset requires changing the minds of people and Cybertyping doesn’t have the religious backing to win John Travolta and sweep the nation bringing change, flowers, and a Beatles reunion tour with it.

But I digress, my simple point is this. There is a large distinction between a Black Panther/KKK rally and some prepubescent teenager calling me racial epitaphs in a game of Counter-Strike. Cybertyping finds affinity with the latter. I doubt many people are alive today who do not realize that some people are just plain vicious, and going around the world playing the flying nun and fixing every wrong you come across starts to sound a little absurd when you apply it to not only a physically global scale but also a digital one. My cynicism is proliferate in this article not because I’m insensitive to racism but that I’m not going to gleefully hop up and down when someone invents a new trick(or term) for an old, old dog.

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Derrida finds favor with the Bidet

October 25, 2007

Jacques Derrida, philosopher, founder of deconstruction, and author of a multitude of works including The Paper Machine, extends a question to his audience. Just how much is paper worth? If you are a white collar business man you might quickly remark over a thousand sheets of printing paper could be had for just under $15, or less than 8 cents per sheet. If you’re a photographer you might suggest that the value could be $130 for 50 sheets of paper. If you find your calling as a banker you might find the first two notions preposterous and claim the value of paper to be as high as $100,000 for one sheet. Derrida knows that all of these notions are true, citing currency and toilet paper as the two extremes representing the opposite ends of what paper means to society. Ernest Hemingway once referred to the blank sheet of paper lying in front of the author as the White Bull, and Derrida follows suite to that personification when he questions the intimidating nature of the empty page. Bringing a multitude of questions to his reader’s attention, he proposes a Paradox of paper to his audience and invites them to think for themselves and solve the riddle of just how much paper is worth.

Through-out his intimidating and inspiring use of verbose rhetoric, Jaques Derrida fills his writing with a mass of similes, allegories, and analogous references that fell on deaf ears. I personally found little connection when he stretched the boundaries of my concentration as he gives deeper meaning to his words through metaphorical and philosophical extensions of his literal words. I feel that I may have grasped the very basis of his meaning, but only enough to recount his notion in lite summation.

It’s your right to read this.

October 23, 2007

      …and anything else you please. However, certain internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast are in steady progression leading toward their relentless attempts to control user received content. In layman’s terms, they choose the internet for you. This is nothing too stark or drastic, yet it is still limiting it’s subscribers. This specefic event is documented in an article located on NetworkWorld, found here:

 Comcast Corp. actively interferes with attempts by some of its high-speed Internet subscribers to share files online, a move that runs counter to the tradition of treating all types of Net traffic equally.

Now, regulation of information is nothing new, but it is just new to this field. More specifically, this field in relation the the United States. I can personally state that in it’s humble world-wide birth the internet was (and still is) limiting user access to many different sites. From my personal stay in China for just under a year, I recount that only a hand full of sites were made available (but it’s alright, I could still play Everquest, and since then China has removed most of those restrictions). I don’t believe regulation of the internet should be tolerated, however I won’t be getting up out of my seat to do anything about it. Seek security knowing that in this nation, you’re allowed to proliferate any and all discriminations and disgusts and still lie within the law. Find comfort knowing that greater freedoms than the internet have stood the test, and remain free to this day. So long as the rights and laws which uphold the freedom represented in the Internet do not fault, crack, or whither, the Web will remain free.

The Author, interpreted.

October 18, 2007

Foucault educates and explicates the public mind in his piece which is accurately titled “What is an Author?”. Despite the unusual length of his average sentences, he still makes excellent use of the space provided, packing each sentence with point. This overshadows the scope of the reader with amicable intent. Foucault seeks to exert his mental dominance over the reader in a egotistical attempt for the reader to cling to his words as newfound truth. While the teacher should surpass the taught, he seeks to impress as well as overwhelm his audience with a venerable flood of verbosity, the likes of which few average citizens could find tolerable.

While my assigned work was to regurgitate his argument in summation, I confess to lacking the tolerance needed to read his piece a third, fourth, and possibly fifth time that I feel may be par for this course. While never wishing to abscond from a literal challenge, I found some sense of redundancy in his underlying tone that abstained me from finding true appreciation for his view. To give credit where it is due however, I believe that as his extant words continue to resonate in my thoughts and combine with the spoken lecture from tomorrow’s class and rectify my purblind view of  Foucault’s perplexing plot to educate those willing to study his word.

Is the Internet Killing Our Culture?

October 4, 2007

Andrew Keen is famous for being the most outspoken critic of the Web 2.0 Movement, and infamous for his shoddy and overtly biased method of attack which often lacks proper foundation. David Weinberger is a proud enthusiast of the next generation of the internet and believes the changes it is making to human relationships, communication, and society to all be for the best. Both men are of high academic standing, and their range of knowledge spans from philosophy to political science to a versed understanding of todays Web 2.0. For their rigidly opposing viewpoints, they have met publicly on the field of debate on several occasions, but maintained their decency enough to also meet privately to discuss the nature of their opposition.

In an article written by Weinberger titled: “Andrew Keen’s Best Case“, he recounts how Keen’s greatest fault lies in his lack of focus.

Keen is so eager to show that the Internet is killing our culture that he dredges up every Net problem he can. After he’s thrown against the wall most of the known varieties of pasta, from elbow macaroni to spinach linguine, we’re left with a big soggy pile on the floor, and just a few bits that have stuck.

In this respect, Weinberger makes an excellent point regarding the underlying argument from Keen, who is so wrought with distaste for the rising culture of the net, that his rage predominantly clouds his rhetoric throughout his writings. In his book, Cult of the Amateur, Keen sites so many problems that he finds with the internet that it takes nearly all of the two hundred and forty pages for him to satisfactorily state his point. Weinberger cites Keen’s lack of focus as the downfall of his crusade. stating that:

He hurts his own argument by indiscriminately waggling his finger at everything bad he can find on the Web.

Representing the polar opposite, Weinberger brings logic and a lack of temperamental bias to his focused approach to tactfully bring his focus to his readers thoughts. His accusations of Keen’s flamboyancy for attention and flair for judgmental zealously only serve to bring a false identity to the Web and draw the public eye away from the truly troublesome issues facing the fewest generation of the internet.

Wikipedia Gets 0.00000000000001% Bigger

September 27, 2007

    I’ve scribed written language for a multitude of reasons through my complicated relationships with scholastics. Grades, a daily schedule, and personal gain have all at one time compelled me to put pen to paper, but never public good. Wikipedia, the pinnacle of a librocentric community, stands as a monolithic and unparalleled achievement on the internet. In an effort to connect with a titan, our class is mandated to edit or create a single entry from the digital death of Britannica.

With such a vast maze of knowledge to search, finding a proper entrance can be morose. A single visit to wikirage (A site that shows popular edits on Wikipedia) later, I found one of the top entries listed to be something I wanted more knowledge on. For this reason, and little else, I decided to edit the page of Team Fortress 2, a game that posses a unique art style reminiscent of The Incredibles, which is one of my most favored films in cinematic history.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Team_Fortress_2

Finding little I knew that wasn’t already documented, I resorted to organizing some of the data regarding the release of the game. Price, availability, and release date were some of the meager inputs I added to the already boisterous library of contextualized information regarding Team Fortress. I took care to link to as many outside sources as were notable, and the summarize my information for a quick and easy read. Despite the insignificance of my drop in the ocean of words on Wikipedia, it was nice to pay my tribute to the diety of online knowledge, and I’m glad for the experience.

Assignment Zero Benefits From It’s Own Failure

September 20, 2007

Assignment Zero was a collaboration of efforts on the part of journalists from Wired and NewAssignment.net in an effort to form an open source of journalistic work. Written by professionals as much as by a community of commoners, it had high hopes of bringing together a patchwork story. Edited and managed by the patrons of the site just as much as the creators, the journal was updated through cutting out sentences and sewing in paragraphs. It was a coalition of effort towards a single goal, fueled by the pious devotion of a great variety of individuals. A Variance that would bring this conscientious aspiration to a fault.

 “No matter what your motivation and experience, we’ve got a place for you. Here’s how it works day-to-day.”

The opening lines from the ‘How This Works’ page of the official website of the project, they extend open arms to the tired, poor, and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. A melting pot of ideas, each word from any contributer as valuable as the last, their widespread acceptance would expand their ambition faster than they could fuel it. As an article written by Patrick Crawford for that very site asks: “Can social news sites survive the very openness that makes them thrive?”, I personally found this to be a key point to the pratfall of Assignment Zero. Imagine setting up an open event for an unknown, but estimated large, number of of people. Regardless of what you plan to do, a certain, almost cliché, routine of events might arise in your mind as to how to entertain your guests. Setting up chairs, ordering food and drink, and overall planning the event are all tasks that work well in in scape of reality. However when this event is entirely digital, such a routine would fail to serve you. Without knowing the number, origin, or intention of your mystery guests, the realization that a little filter can go a long way might rise to thought. Reasoning from participation ranged from personal popularity among the community of journalists, financial gain, and even to the more logical greater good of the society posters who contribute to the site to watch it flourish.  Six months after it’s creation, it met with it’s morose destruction. Despite a flourish of actions and reactions that can be traced to the fallout of Assignment Zero was ultimately unable to see it’s dream prosper because it didn’t know then, what it knows now.  As Cicero, a Roman theorist, lawyer, and philosopher said: “We must not say every mistake is a foolish one”.  I believe the second coming of a project like Assignment Zero is close at hand, and I look forward to AS 2.0 with intrigue and anticipation.

Smart Mobs: A Smart Theory

September 18, 2007

Far be it from any lesser man to disagree with Rheingold’s composed estimation of today and tomorrow. His points for for modern day, whether gathered from a well versed community of notable figures, or derived from a seemingly monolithic amount of research, are solid and well composed. He stakes claim to the present by flexing his mind’s potential to explore to crossed paths of technology and an ever advancing culture. Sparing no expense when it comes to respectable individuals who have known accomplishment in technology, Rheingold cites the accredited works of everything from E-bay, Napster, to more personal references like John van Neumann’s Game Theory, and all the way to the personal application of the common-man’s place in shaping this brave new world. I believe a great deal of his success in winning my positive opinion is the vast span of his research. If you have your doubts, Rheingold has taken the time to consider your view and write an appropriate citation or hypothesis in regards to your point of view. Though I don’t credit anyone with the gift of true foresight, I believe he has plotted and planned for the mindset of his readers with tedious precision. I personally recommend this to anyone looking for a glimpse of the future that doesn’t pertain to robots or religion, but instead lays its foundation though ration, reasoning, and research. Any doubting of his extensive research can be extinguished by a mere glance at his citation page in the back of ‘Smart Mobs’, which spans over 30 pages. His determination to breach any gap in sight and recover any plane of knowledge only served to strengthen my experience, reassurance that my time and thoughts were well placed in the learned care of Howard Rheingold.

Advertisement anomaly

September 11, 2007

Tasked to bring a video or image into my blog, I wanted to bring something with both a unique touch, and a short duration to fulfill the assignment. As foolish as it feels to type “I like this commercial because”, I find this short for the Microsoft Zune charming in an odd sense. Humanity is sick and tired of two people talking to each other for 30 seconds or 1 minute about how great their ford is. I for one, appreciate the deviation into this more esoteric choice of advertising.

Bizarro News: Blogs

September 9, 2007

  The recent advocation of anti-American sentiment from infamous Osama Bin Laden was recently made public, and with open arms, the internet has taken in any opinion on the matter, news or not. On the web, reputable knowledge and fallacy find themselves on common soil.

In attempt to admirably fulfill my requirements as a student, I began this assignment in a fruitless effort to find a news article from a personal blog, then cross-analyze it with a more publicized form on internet news. A noble notion, but over 2 and a half hours later, I felt my placid demeanor leaving as I sped through pages and pages of ‘news’ only to find a rampant riot of picketed opinions. Which are great, but not what I was after. I’d prefer not to sound as though I’m a bigot, so I’ll humbly admit to my lack of experience in blogging, and confess to knowing that news blogs and plentiful in number, and my inability to properly locate them. But the lackluster results I encountered in my search brought up a notion that I was curious to explore. Are blogs opinion? Or News?

The gaping difference between the two is ironically enough, not a fault, but rather a disassociation. Employing the Google blog search along side Cnn.com, I sought to inform myself on the recent video put forth by Bin Laden by entering his name in the search results. My general results brought about a foundation for the following written word.  Blogs encompass a unique ambiance, stretching cross-genre to a near harrowing extent. Unique in it’s acceptance of anyone with the dexterity to type, blogs can simultaneously disappoint you on one page and cultivate your mind on the next. Structured and specific in their target audience, news lacks the flexibility to inform and amuse without wandering too far from their title. Paid for their expertise, only refined journalism finds it’s way onto the mainstream source of information. I wish to clarify that I do not find fault in either approach. I do find fault in amount of trust that is often equally placed in information from both news and blogs.

In desperate need of a speedy summation, I simply say that blogs are written by anyone, the news, by professionals.