Online Academics

MIT OpenCourseware and the copyright hungry professor from Florida – if I were the authority on the model to follow in the future, I’d have to go with MIT.  The Florida case does raise some questions, though.  I think the UF case is primarily an ethics matter regarding the business that is re-selling student notes.  The professor probably doesn’t over value his lectures, but does have a problem with the company that is making a profit on helping people “cheat.”  The intellectual property matter is just the pretext for taking a shot at this questionable business. I’m curious whether this professor is paying for this lawsuit himself – or if his University is supporting him.  I would be suprised if U. of Florida is helping him out with legal fees.  It seems like UF would try to keep as much distance as possible – unless they see the case as a way to make more money, which …

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WriteRoom

Rob Pegoraro had a column in the Washington Post today about a word processor called WriteRoom, which behaves like an old DOS-based program with no editing functions whatsoever.  Apparentley, there are a number writers out there who find modern software distracting, leading them to this spare typrewriter-like tool.  It even looks old – green text on black.  I can relate to the frustration with MS Word and other applications, but unless WriteRoom cuts off your internet connection, distractions are still out there.  Writers shouldn’t blame their software for making them lazy, or distracted, if they are taking what they write seriously. 

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Kurt Vonnegut – Player Piano

I just finished the first novel I have read by K. Vonnegut. The story revolves around Paul Proteus, a high ranking engineer in the city of Ilium. Paul suffers from a feeling that his work doesn’t actually benefit society. Ilium exists inside of a society where machines virtually replaced men in most occupations, leaving engineers as the only citizens enjoying a wealthy and respected lifestyle. The story is entertaining, and at times believable. Many people can sympathize with the feeling that your life’s work is trivial or even destructive. Vonnegut draws on this disenchantment with industry in the post-war landscape, taking engineers and machinery on as a target for criticism. This novel was written as the development of computers were just beginning to take place, and Vonnegut explores the possibilities technology changing the future. Like a player piano, the engineers of Ilium imagine most machines can get along just fine …

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Remixing rights, sight and sound

For the remix assignment, my idea is to grab a song from the Internet Archive’s live music pool, look for CC licensed images on flickr tagged with the title of whatever song I grab, and then mash the results up in a neat video.  I think this will be a cool way to experience the song, as well as see what people think the song “looks like”.   Kind of unrelated, yet maybe relevant:  A while back, I made a song using FLStudio and then cut up some video that I shot in Paris, and came up with this.  My idea for the remix project is kind of based on this abstract-music-video structure.  I posted the video on YouTube, and until now have never bothered to read their terms for user submissions.  I apparentley granted YouTube:  “a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, …

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The Electronic Literature Collection

The ELC, a library of hypertext literature, contains examples on how literature can be adapted to the internet. Here are my thoughts on some samples from the collection: Faith by Robert Kendall Faith is a poem presented in a visually innovative way. This text doesn’t require much interaction from the reader as some other hypertext does, and could even be presented on paper and still have a similar effect. However, in its electronic form, it uses flash animation to weave together the poem, reusing words and letters by shifting them into new places as the lines progress. The placement of the words and their actions, such as falling and bouncing off each other, helps illustrate some of the points of the poem. For instance, when the word Logic falls down and bounces off of the word Faith, an implicit point is being made and the animation is not just a …

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Exams start this week. I don’t know if the semester has gone by quickly or slowly, but either way I think I have learned a lot. I mean, a lot of book stuff. My life seems to have calmed down a lot, but at the same time I still feel like I have a lot going on. It will be great to have some time off after exams. I’m looking forward to that.

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