…only a paintbrush

January 30, 2011

In class last week we had the opportunity to hear from Bryan Alexander and Alan Levine, the authors of the article Web 2.0 Storytelling.   They spoke about what “web 2.0” actually means for storytelling, thinking through identities, creating interpretations, and how the internet is much more than a “tool.”

Image from flickr, Sistine Chapel, Rome, Italy


Gotta have some ice cream

January 29, 2011

Not only has snow swept across much of the northern states all the way down to Virginia, though only dusting Fredericksburg, so has a desire for ice cream.  Zach Burroughs, pictured on the front page of the Washington Post during the recent snowstorm, is the new sensation griping the nation with the compelling question of why would you want ice cream when it’s snowing outside?! Find out the story behind the ice cream man as interviewed in the Washington Post or hear Burroughs speak live.  You’ll soon discover that Burrough’s wasn’t alone in his love of ice cream…..

Image of Zach Burrough’s courtesy of The Washington Post

Into the Ocean

January 27, 2011


I went snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia.

throw off the bowlines

After looking through the list of 50+ tools I decided to experiment with a program called shwup .  It was fairly simple to use.  Select some pictures, decide on a style, upload some music and the program puts it all together.  While you can’t control the speed at which images are displayed, I finally found a style that seemed to work best.

Images and video courtesy of my friends Chris Ryan, Bethany Stoffel, and Hanna Kreutz.

Music: Into the Ocean by Blue October

A Hazy Understanding

January 25, 2011

Gardner Campbell spoke about teachers being “addicted to business as usual” in the podcast class last week.  While I agreed with that statement, after reading Tim O’Reilly’s “What is the Web 2.0” I can understand why education systems are hesitant to incorporate more, if any, use of the internet into their classes.  Displaying content on the Web brings up more questions then there are currently answers for.  Not to mention a whole new language.  Terms like “microconent,” “Social software,” and “findability” all make-up this “Web 2.0.”

Another issue is how to protect your work online when it can be viewed around the world.  Copyright laws coming into play for creative works are essential because of the access and spread of ideas and information at a speed not seen before.  Creative Commons provides the needed flexibility of allowing people to display their work under a protected copyright and yet sometimes allow for it to be manipulated, which encourages new thinking in itself.

While I’m starting to understand a bit about how Web 2.0 works and what it’s capable of, I’ve realized that it is only through my own exploration and mess-ups that I’ll really learn what I can experience and in turn share with others.  Although everyone might have similar findings/frustrations/encounters, we’re not all going to have the same story.  It is through our own stories that we feel most comfortable interacting and learning about the technology.

Another Unknown Plugin

January 20, 2011

When I was first designing my blog site, I immediately set up a plugin that allowed me to have a random quote generator in a sidebar on my page.  I’m a huge fan of inspirational and goofy quotes so I knew this was a must.  I’ve also installed Google Analytics which I’ve used before with previous blogs, the twitter tools – even though I still don’t like the website, and subscribing to comments plugin, though I’m not exactly sure how it works.  I’m also on the hunt for a good photo application to display images, so if anyone has a favorite I’d love a suggestion.  And now I can’t wait to continue exploring to see what other kinds of tools are available that might never have crossed my mind…!

About 5 years ago, when I was in high school, my grandparents came to visit.  They started telling us a story of one of their neighbors daughters who was competing in the Woodvale Challenge Atlantic Rowing Race. As a rower myself who would get annoyed during practice by the disturbance  from the wake of a motor boat, the idea of being in the vast ocean surrounded by waves that could tower over you and in a boat barely even inches thick, completely blew my mind.  Not only that, my grandma showed me where you could watch the progress online as the boats slowly crossed the 2,550 nautical miles from La Gomera to Antigua, often been blown backwards by unfavorable winds, currents, or storms.  (1 nautical mile = 1.150779 miles)  In that moment, as I looked at the colorful dots that represented the different boats, I new that someday I will be one of them.

Someday that'll be me

“Ocean Rowing is more about strength of mind than strength of muscle, and that perseverance mattered more than size.”  -Roz Savage, Solo Crossing, 2005

Re-imagine Imagined Space

January 17, 2011

I found Gardner Campbell’s article “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure” and his presentation about “No Digital Facelifts…” to be very intriguing.  The title of this post, Re-imagine imagined space, comes from a comment Campbell made about using the internet on a personal level to go from narrating to curating to finally sharing.  I liked the idea of creating something new out of a medium that isn’t static and that can reach lots of people.  What’s exciting about this class and what Gardner Campbell talked about, is the opportunity to build a site in a way that is completely our own.  This realm of creativity is so unexplored that it cannot help but lead to “compelling examples of fresh thinking” as Campbell said.  It also can be overwhelming because suddenly we have to think of words or phrases that will represent ourselves and/or ideas in a domain name, ect.  How we express ourselves or create something noteworthy amongst the thousands of other websites is challenging and thought provoking.

I took a digital history class a year ago that introduced me for the first time to the concept of digitizing materials, specifically books, on the web and then had discussions about access and copyright laws.  We also looked at the impact of the resources available online and I was blown away by how much is out there and tools that have been created to handle the information and connect people around the world.  I highly recommend watching this video called “The Machine is Us/ing Us”. Click here to watch!

Digital history, blogging, web design, virtually anything created online, is such a new and growing field of interest in this age because of all the possibilities it offers.  The consequences though of broadcasting ones thoughts and ideas across the web can also have good or bad consequences so it’s important to think about how you’re re-imagining this imagined space.

What domain name should I use?  What Username should I pick? How do I want people to know me as?  Do I use the same password for all my new accounts or do I make them all different?  What if my random password contains a word found in the dictionary and so cannot be used?

All of these various questions went through my mind as I was exploring the new realm of domain names and creating my own website for the first time.  The last question though provided for some thorough entertainment.  Two of my roommates and I are in this class together and we were all registering and creating accounts at the same time.  We learned during one of the steps that the password could not contain a word found in the dictionary.  You’d think this would be a fairly simple instruction to follow….but only if you know your 2-letter Scrabble words.  Apparently the random combination of “jm” is found in the Webster Dictionary as being the abbreviation of the Bible name James.  By the time we ended up with a mash-up of random numbers and letters, our 2-letter word vocabulary had increased substantially.

The actual purchasing of the domain name off of GoDaddy was another experience in itself.  When I finally got to check-out, I was being charged for an additional “Business” protection and a “Personal” protection.  After some clicking and un-clicking and then more clicking, I’d figured out what type of privacy protection I actually needed to purchase and then the price was randomly reduced…by a penny.  I guess that’s how the “every penny counts” saying came about?

Somehow between the mixed cries of “Ahhh, what do I do now,” “Help meeee!” and “Why won’t this work?” we all successfully became a part of the group page on Digital Storytelling, purchased our own websites, and got an account on Twitter.

I also picked out my avatar, which is an image of me in the vast Australian Outback letting the rich red sand pour through my fingers.