Try The Search Button, Newbie!

October 30, 2007

According to Lisa Nakamura’s Cybertyping and the Work of Race in the Age of Digital Reproduction, the web brings down racism and discrimination. Although true to a point, I don’t think it will ever completely remove it. There will always be groups that hate on others, regardless of where they are or what they may be in person. For example, take any standard forum. Usually, there are a handful of constant posters on forums, and then a whole bunch of people who come and go randomly to post about questions and such. Every now and then, one of these people will post a really common question, and get an extremely harsh response from several of the constant posters, demanding that the “newbie” search around and find his or her own answer. Although this discrimination and harshness isn’t due to a person’s color or gender, simply being new to the forum is causing people to be harsh against him or her.

So even though racism via color may not be as prevalent, racism of knowledge is.

Derrida: A Word Document > Paper

October 25, 2007

Derrida’s chapter entitled Paper or Me, You Know … (New Speculations on a Luxury of the Poor) talks about how he feels that paper is dead for standard communication. Well, maybe not quite dead, but its surely on its way. He talks about how he feels that paper took over other forms of communication when it was introduced, and that its time is now over – computers will take over what paper used to have. He now feels that paper has been downgraded to the role of support – a good example is how people use user manuals to help guide them on how to use a specific program.

Derrida also talks about something called the “graphosphere,” which I took to mean the general everyday environment in which paper is used. I’m honestly not sure if I grasped this concept properly and I had lots of trouble reading this part, since I didn’t fully understand what he meant by the graphosphere, and by the whole “The Paper is Me” thing. I understand that a passport can be considered “you,” but I don’t see how it relates to anything other than that.

Democracy is Dying…

October 23, 2007

… as shown by Comcast controlling what people can access on the internet. An author at the InformationWeek blog wrote the following:

I do worry when ISPs start to block certain types of traffic on their networks. Sure, they may be blocking BitTorrent today, but they may block other Web sites in the future. And as a consumer if I pay Comcast for broadband, I want to be able to control my Web experience. Source

As you can see, by restricting Comcast users from using a certain type of software or protocol is hindering their web experience. If you pay for something, you should get the full use out of it, whether its a product or a service. What if the next time you purchased a car you found out you were only allowed to go to a select list of shops to have the car repaired when something went wrong? Some people wouldn’t be affected by that, but I know I would – especially since I do a lot of the work at home. What Comcast has done is similar to this – they’re stopping me from fully enjoying my purchase (if I was a Comcast Cable Internet subscriber). Next thing you know, it will be a crime to e-mail one of your friends who uses another internet service provider.

Foucault = Google Reader?

October 23, 2007

Michael Foucault states that an author is not simply the writer of a piece of work – but a collaborator. An author brings together different experiences in his or her life, and expresses it through writing. Understandable.. but can something like Google Reader be considered an author in that case, since it brings together content that other people are expressing through their blogs? It brings up an interesting point in my opinion, especially since we’re taught from 1st grade onwards that an author is simply the person who writes a book or piece of work.

For Poisons Only.

October 16, 2007

Mr. Yuk, the official symbol to denote a substance as toxic, is the center of a controversy in Minnesota. Someone decided to use the symbol as part of their campaign against a bill.

Bakken, a lawyer, defended his use of Mr. Yuk. He said federal law allows some use of copyrighted material for satire or academic criticism. He said he found Yuk-like images spread across the Internet. Source

This is what I would consider fair use – the “violator” isn’t trying to use the original work in an effort to destroy it or harm the copyright holder. He is, instead, using it to help people make a legal decision. Since people know that the symbol means danger, he uses it to sway the people into thinking the bill or law being passed is dangerous. The meaning of the symbol remains the same – danger. The copyright holders aren’t affected by it, since the meaning is the same as it was before he used it. And its all for academic use – to teach the public about the dangers of a certain law.

Corbis Is Nothing Compared To Flickr

October 9, 2007

In Everything is Miscellaneous, David Weinberger points out that digital photos will eventually mean nothing to us – unless we can find the technology or time to start labeling them. Although he doesn’t state it explicitly, from his argument it sounds like he’s saying that Flickr is a better resource to get pictures from simply because there are more and are tagged better.

Like the iTunes Store, Corbis isn’t even a particularly good example of third-order organization… Corbis give us only a taste of the revolution that’s under way. Just take a look at Flickr to see one way this is unrolling… Yet it is remarkably easy to find photos at Flickr on almost any topic and to pull together collections of photos on themes that mix and match those topics at will.

So even though Corbis’ photos are taken by professionals, organized by professionals, the amateur photography is better? I don’t know, I would prefer to use a professional photograph for my projects and presentations than something taken by someone like me. Sure, he makes a valid point that its easier to search, but the point also shows bias as he discredits a larger, more well known authority on photography for a social photography posting site.

Engineered Talent

October 1, 2007

As I was reading The Good, the Bad, And the ‘Web 2.0’ article on, a part of Andrew Keen’s argument popped out at me. He claims that talent can be created by stating:

But the problem is that gatekeepers — the agents, editors, recording engineers — these are the very engineers of talent

I’m sorry to interrupt, but where can I find a local agent so I can go and buy talent? I’d love to be able to sing, play guitar, and play drums all at the same time. Is Keen saying that these people – agents, editors, and recording engineers – are talent gods?? That’s quite a statement, especially considering that a person who plays in a coffee shop can have just as much talent as a person who’s being paid millions of dollars. If we start measuring each others talent by measuring each other’s pocketbook, then by far Bill Gates is the most talented person in the world (as of 2/9/2007) – a college drop out. I know several people who have talent, whether it be musical, artistic, or anything else in the world, who don’t have nearly as large a pocketbook as main stream artists.