Science Net Links – Antibiotic Attack!

April 10, 2007 at 8:12 pm | Posted in Assignment | Leave a comment

This is a fun game for kids that was put together through the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.  Science Networks has Antibiotic Attack for 3rd through 5th graders – one of many tools for teachers in the classroom brought to you by Thinkfinity.

Entertainment Tonight

April 10, 2007 at 7:56 pm | Posted in Assignment | 1 Comment

Each of the entertainment sites has its merits and its drawbacks.

 IMDB

I’ve been here a few times before and find it has a good, simple database, plenty of options for interaction via reader comments and links to see slide shows and/or trailers for many movies.  Generally simple enough to order a copy if interested, too.

Didn’t like the advertising that flashes all over the place, limited movie descriptions/plot lines.

SIDEWAYS

Very cleverly done and built on icons with Flash animation.  User pretty much relies on limited text and visuals to get where you’re going.  Interesting links to various related sites and good opportunity to get to reviews and related sites.

It was a little to gimmicky in terms of the animation and on wi-fi, Flash takes more time to load. . . found on a couple of occasions that I was unable to get a specific menu icon to open up along the top when I was at a location.

GREY’S ANATOMY

Excellent site with numerous animated links. . . character/actor/bio quite good.  Relies heavily on visual cues and moves quickly, effortlessly – much better than Sideways site.  Highly interactive in that it offers a character quiz – “Who are you most like?”

 Although there is some clutter on this site, it’s easy to navigate – always have a sense of where you are and where you’ve been. . . blogability is great.  A highly entertaining site as you’d expect.  Advertising is distracting, but not to the same degree as IMDB.

Can You Hear Me Now?

April 9, 2007 at 4:40 pm | Posted in Proposal | 7 Comments

It’s difficult to be decisive some days when there are so many appealing possibilities for an individual project, but I’ve decided to stay close to home.  Yes, it’s the telecom landscape that I will profile for my proposal.

I have mentally modified this so that I can concentrate on what is closest at hand for me. . . the fiber-optic landline network that we are building on the Eastside and Snohomish County (as well as elsewhere in the country).  This is a more manageable look at change and whither the network of the future goes. The wireless element will only be touched upon.

The development of this infrastructure that will reach close to 20 million homes nationwide by the end of 2010 is a major investment in the future and provides virtually unlimited capacity for the continued evolutionary thrust of digital media.  In fact yesterday I was called by one of the owners of GearLive who is planning to move from Seattle to a Verizon fiber-optic network area because 768K upload of files to his server in Texas just ain’t gettin’ it. . . To the degree that bandwidth is the name, all-fiber-optic networks will be the game. . .

The rapidly changing environment is throwing everyone for a loop on whither it shall go. . . Mobility is a principal driver thanks to continuing technological innovation, but policy at national, state and local levels is influencing the long-term outcome.

There is continuing consolidation, spectrum disposition and acquisition, consumer confusion and expectation, new players with technologies that live outside existing policies and new policies for existing technologies.

What is clear is the watershed shift that is occuring on multiple fronts:   Long-distance competition, the initial point of reference in breaking up AT&T almost 25 years ago, has almost disappeared as a discrete service .  Wireless communications has grown exponentially from its early days 20 years ago; IP technology has taken the lead in the past 5 years, making a PC become that holy grail of the ‘one device’ that will do it all – process data, optimize searches, communicate, etc.

Wi-fi and its sister technology, Wi-Max, are coming into play to distribute easily accessible broadband in American cities and even into the heartland as rural consumers raise a ruckus about the digital divide. . . The cable companies, power companies, landline phone companies, wireless companies and the silicon community are all making their way into our communications needs and expectations.

I hope to provide enough background to set the stage for the future of communications, even as we experience it now.  I will use industry, consumer and related research sources to create a sense of the  evanescent nature of what – not so many years ago – was a fixed network for talking which, presumably, will continue to be an importat form of communication. 

However, with the many variations on a theme here that we experience whether we IM, e-mail, text, chat or talk, the future may be something that we can’t even see today, though, like the landline telephone, predicated on a previous technology.

Reading Demands Rereading

April 9, 2007 at 1:57 pm | Posted in Reading | 1 Comment

 NOTE:  Luckily I read this yesterday and put a few notes in here for the blog.  Today the server is wreaking havoc with all attempts to get into e-reserve.  Hope this makes some sense to you. . .

 This read brought some Greek into my vocabulary – understanding the patterns of hypertext, like some literature, isn’t intuitive.  When we wander off into various permutations of hypertext and how it may function, a brave new world is opened.  I think Bernstein may be arguing that the various patterns for hypertext links he describes are beyond the linear text of literature; however, the various forms that literature or other art forms – e.g., movies like Memento  – take aren’t that far afield from the capabilities of hypertext.

The idea of robotic hypertext is intriguing – the notion that the logic of the hypertext trumps the logic of the reader.  A reminder to us that in any website design it is the ‘logic’ of the user that trumps that of hypertext – otherwise the information doesn’t serve its intended purpose.

I think there’s some truth and value to considering Neighborhoods as laid out by Bernstein.  His example of the Musee d’Orsay helps bring home how a site’s visual coherence and reliance on a certain minimal visual structure, can continue to keep the user oriented in the site despite any possible disparate elements on subsites/pages.  It brings me back to the basic statement that form follows function(ality) but with Bernstein, it’s not clear to me that this is the underlying insight or approach he’s sharing.

 Like Luke, I’m looking forward to discussion in class on this.  It’s a little too dense for me to get in a single reading.  Next time I’ll download it.

Paper Tigers 紙老虎

April 6, 2007 at 2:06 pm | Posted in Assignment | 8 Comments

There are many things I considered. . . Seattle has a host of possibililties, but I’ve decided to leave some of that off the table here.

During the course of the next few weeks the die should be cast for the future of the two Seattle daily newspapers, the Seattle Times and Post-Intelligencer.  This equals change for both Seattle and, likely, media ownership.  It seems to me a story worth talking about and, of course, researching. . .

For our Taiwanese students, I hope this will help you understand English a little better.  See:  The Die Is Cast

Readability

April 3, 2007 at 6:31 pm | Posted in Assignment | 1 Comment

This is a brief information piece on my local school district website.  It comes out at 11.4 grade level.

Summer school info

This AP story about high speed wireless internet in Mexico City came out at grade 13. 8.

 And this from Charles Schwab on mutual founds came up to grade level 12.5

Genre Creator!

April 2, 2007 at 6:47 am | Posted in Assignment | 1 Comment

There’s no question that viral video – particularly political satire – rings my bell.  Here is an example of what makes me laugh and cry.  Karl Rove mashed up to tell a story that is visually appealing and quick.  This genre of storytelling is the wave of the future, IMO.  If you can’t visually edit, then you can’t tell your story!

Here’s another way to tell the video story . . . Perhaps more formal, more talking-headish.  Not a VIRAL video, but a way to supplement what you read and I wonder if it’s beyond the inverted pyramid – I mean the lead catches your attention, but it isn’ the focus of the story.  And for all of these, there’s a link to a related story.  The point here simply being that READING isn’t always what will draw your interest.  BUT, a visual may lead you on to read.

Finally, there are the quick organized ‘chunks’ brought to us via the Tech Traks blog in the Seattle Times.  It’s readable – and personable, because all of the writers have photos and bios.  It is personalized in the sense that I feel I know who I’m dealing with, the credibility of their business – the Times and because I can easily reach them by post, e-mail or phone.

The Readabout

April 2, 2007 at 3:54 am | Posted in Reading | 2 Comments

Digital Contemplation

Like Sister Mary Surfer, there are a broad range of us who are attracted to the Internet and, if you believe what some have to say like Ian Jukes, then our brains are wired somewhat differently. . . at least generationally.

Most of our readings were on point about how to use readability to attract and retain ‘users’ on a site.  I particlarly think that using a short story format as evinced by Edgar Alan Poe in the Cask of Amontillado  – oh yes, and a YouTube version – as a counterpoint to the inverted pyramid is worth considering. . . However, to keep the user in play, readability or, in the case of younger users, interactive capability may be an overriding consideration for web designers and blogsters.

There is neuroscience research that establishes a few key points, according to Jukes:

  • Our parents (for some reading this that would be grandparents), 90% of how and what they learned was audio or reading and, therefore, READABILITY is of huge significance to that generation.
  • Research from 3M demonstrates that the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does words because our brains are better suited to processing visual information than anything else! (the reason for this is that 30% of the brain’s cortex is used for processing visual info v. 8% for touch and 3% for hearing).
  • Those of us, like the good sister and myself, who are digital immigrants do not interpret information in the same way that digital natives (i.e., the young who have grown up with digital media) do.

Per Jukes:

Their eyes skim the bottom and edges before they focus on the center.  And while we find it distracting to read text of different colors, specific colors attract and repel digital natives when they’re reading – blood red draws attention first, then neon green and burnt orange are skimmed – and black is ignored completely.

�And this brings us back to the readings and Klare’s point that the web is a user-driven medium “with competing information one finger click away.”   Thus, the goals of the website must be clear to the user and, therefore, the web designer. Breaking the information up into small manageable tasks seems logical.

I recall blogging on this last quarter and mentioning what USA Today was in its beginning  and how it was perceived by traditional publishers, journalists and some readers – too much like TV:  Bite-size stories with no ‘depth’ (must have been a comparison to a New York Times feature, I guess).  But this was the beginning of the MTV generation and the migration from black and white newspapers to color which, at the time, was still only reflected on TV screens and in magazines.

Now, as we look out on the world of storytelling in the digital age, websites must be concise, chunked bits of information and, ultimately, attuned to our brain/eye scans that will take an image, interpret it and file it in an almost literal nanosecond.  The “F” factor if you will. . .

I suppose Plato was right that writing would be the end of the oral tradition and memory.   Now, if we update this, visual processing (initially a survival skill for human evolution) will be the death of text-based information.   Perhaps we’re moving toward a telepathic form of communication – mayhaps the intuition we hear so much about that ‘tells’ us what to do before we understand it.   In the meantime, these readings make a dent in how to highlight and organize text to make the website user more satisfied – that is, effectively getting what is needed out of each view/visit.

Keep The Faith

March 28, 2007 at 3:06 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Life lessons abound when you come to bodhi town.  I’ll be your guide on the side for any questions you have.  Think of me as Dr. Science or an old Bill Cosby album, “Why is there air?”

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