Friday, March 31, 2006

Bubblr

Pim Pam Pum, makers of Memry and Phrasr, released Bubblr within the past week (as far as I can tell...okay, looks like 3/22) (via). It's an easy-as-can-be comic interface that taps into Flickr as an image repository. Choose a few photos, drop in word/thought balloons, type in clever and zany dialogue, and publish.

I was compelled to give it a test drive: Banal Airplane Conversation. Limitations (other than my high-standards blast of creativity): 1) if you want to copy in an extra panel, you'll need to relocate the image in the archive, and 2) the word balloons are somewhat rigid (the hanging attribution slides, but the balloons have constrained dimensions).

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Scent of Maps

Again and again we've read articles by D.R. Fraser Taylor this semester on the coming revolution of cybercartography (even if that rev. arrived a year ago with Google Maps and its API). Taylor takes credit for coining "cybercartography" in his 1997 keynote address, "Maps and Mapping in the Information Era" at the ICC conference in Sweden. Conceptually, cybercartography relaxes cartography from the constraints of paper; the map-maker and the map-user blend together; their products--often dynamic and unconventional--play a range from physical maps to imaginaries and abstraction (idio-data), often at the computer interface. The "false objectivity" of physical maps is loosened to the enigmas and wonder. Consequently we have a disturbance of traditional cartography (i.e. the map-maker, his instruments, and ink).

We've read three articles by Taylor and in each of them he has mentioned multisensory maps. Beyond sight, sound and touch, these maps incorporate taste and scent. The article we read for Tuesday mentioned Olfacom, a company working to devise olfactory devices that "diffuse odors from a changeable cartridge" (Cybercartography: Theory and Practice 555). Each time we read about multisensory maps, we wish for stronger examples. Skepticism piles on, and we're left with questions about mapping scent using artificial devices that would--as I sit here in our home office--fill up the room with a squirt of odor corresponding to whatever it was I was observing on the monitor. Taylor reminds us of marketing motivations backing much of the experimental research on olfactory technologies--from popcorn breezes at Disney to some kind of museum funk (check dusty, petrified relics and their rankness).

I want to give this idea a chance, far-fetched as it at first seems. Multi-sensory maps--including taste and smell; would we reject them before they've materialized? My first objection is that I don't particularly care for the artificial scents. Perfume stores, wretched; incense the same. But we also read an essay this week on public map displays which got me thinking about shared map interfaces. Granted, the examples in the article were retrograde: lobbies filled up with aging monitors used to display variously scaled weather data for passers-by. But let's adapt the logic of the carpet in the Sacramento Airport (via) to this problem. Someone correct me if the rug is more of an aerial or orthophoto rather than a map; it's carpet. Now suppose we have a foyer--the entryspace to a hundred-acre flower garden carpeted in kind, showing a map of the grounds, paths, and foliage. The room still smells like new carpet, right? What if we add fresh cuttings from each of the zones of the garden and, well, we have something that approximates an olfactory map only with natural rather than artificial scent. Representative of the grounds, a legend of odors. But has it lost its "cyber"? Well, not necessarily, considering that Taylor ties cybercartography definitionally to cybernetics as much as to the computer. I like it much better than having an Olfacom gizmo next to my desktop peripherals hitting me with a shot of fabricated scent.

I'm tempted to run ahead with this, wrapping it back to taste--even suggesting a showcase of the Syracuse Hunger Project (a local human geography program at SU) where, in addition to mapping hunger in Onondaga Country, the showcase would promise a "taste of Syracuse" (as promoted, on fliers) only to serve nada to the attendees. To what effect? I suppose this is somewhat unruly, but it gets at the merger of multisensory experience and map displays--particularly public map displays.

Here are a few of the other catches in class--productive though they were:

  • Interactivity as a truism. Is not! Is so! The interaction can be cognitive. It needn't rely on touching (so I say...thinking of Manovich and also Lanham's at/through). Along these lines, the interactive map display on KLM airlines, for example, shows airline passengers a view of the plane in flight and also on approach. Here's the catch: on approach to landing, the display--a dynamic map display--changes scale without any effort by the passenger. The map "interacts" with the whole vehicle, the collective of passengers, whether they're watching the map, reading, napping, sipping diet soda, etc.
  • All maps are narrative. I have doubts. But this idea gets a lot of play in the cybercartography stuff we've read. I'm unconvinced that maps are inherently narrative or that they require the sequential logics commonly deployed in narrative. I prefer to think of them as paradigmatic; users perform the narrative. Heavily qualified, we let it rest as something more complex than narrative or database: cartonarrative.
  • Ubiquity in geocasting. Geocasting is to space and place as clocks, watches and public-display time systems are to, well, time. With GIS we now have devices that can compare a body's coordinates proximate to a location, like an ice cream shop. Reading the proximities comparatively, the device processes your approach and transmits a geocast--an ad, perhaps, specific to the place you are nearing: fudge sundaes, $2.00. Geocasting labels a wide array of locative controls and devices, from Digital Angel (for kids, pets and livestock) to criminal collaring.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Homage and Approbatives

No cause for putting off the inevitable. Among the eleven participants in the 3rd annual Bloggers' Mad Dance pool not a single bracket has a remaining Final Four team winning another game. It is, therefore, complete, finished, with points totaled a full five days before the Final Four and a solid week before the championship game. Winner: Chuck. He joins the prideful elite: last year's winner, Mike Jackson, and the winner in '04, Jeff. In second this year, Ph., followed by Bill in third. And then the rest:

NCAA Pick 'em Standings 2006

Purely for posterity's sake, I'm going to share my final four selections. I expect UCLA and Florida to meet in the finals, which means I'm picking LSU and George Mason to advance. And I expect LSU to beat George Mason in that match-up, so I'm picking George Mason to win the big prize. Anti-impulse, of course, but the other methods weren't worth a damn this year.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Conference Rewind

Finally I'm resetting the needle to a groove, settling in for the intensive few weeks until semester's end, and shaking off the thrill of conversation and catching up throughout the stay in Chicago. I had a good conference despite the sting of $leeping in the conference hotel. It was great to finally meet a host of folks I've known casually in blogspace--Marcia, Debbie, Spencer, Krista, Jeff, and Bradley. Blogging--whatever else can be said of it--gives folks a fuller presence at the conference (judging by the last two Cs); this idea--of quasi-professional connection--is what we were just beginning to get at in the SIG on Friday evening.

I made it to the chair's address and E.28 Why Plagiarism Makes Sense in the Digital Age: Copying, Remixing and Composing on Thursday. I would've liked to catch the sessions on blogging and/or podcasting, but I hadn't eaten much before my session in Computers Connection, and the fifteen minute interlude between sessions wasn't long enough to get that accomplished. The chair's address--"Riding a One-Eyed Horse": Reining In and Fencing Out--worked through a few entangled claims about the field's ocular turn--the vis-rhet push, if we want to call it that. Wooten's framing of technologies was hyperbolic and overtly negative in some cases (even if she was only suggesting a critical framework rather than clearly endorsing such positions). It was a mix of literary reference, personal anecdote, and critique of privileging visual modalities in our teaching. She told about her own first experience of the "tyranny of the image": a newscast about trees that featured a clipart image of a tree in the display's corner. I wasn't comfortable with the tie between the images in Guaman Poma's First New Chronicle and Good Government (a staple in Pratt's famous address on contact zones) and the computer. I'll have to wait for the CCC version to make sense of that. And the reference to technology as a hobby horse was enough to leave me thinking I was missing Wooten's broader point. Noticed that near the end of the talk "one-eyed horse" showed on the teleprompter as "one idea horse."

E.28 Why Plagiarism Makes Sense in the Digital Age offered primer to copyright and remix, including examples of the remix: a tangelo and Sprite Re-mix. My notes are thin, and it wouldn't add anything to get it wrong. Selber's stuff on parodic trailers (The Shining trailer redone), design patterns as micro-genres (and copyright considerations of design patterns), and also breadcrumbing, a term that has come up in cybercartography (rel. to traces, paths), too, left me with some good stuff to think about. The panel also provoked questions about just what constitutes re-mix. What distinguishes re-mix from revision or one-text alteration? When does re-mix become an empty signifier for change or modification?

On Thursday, I caught F.15 The Rhetorics of Identification: Or, Me and You and You and Me, So Happy Together? followed by G.23 Mediating Genres: Examining Antecedent Genres as Discursive Resources in Academic Public Spheres. Each of these panels was extraordinary in its own right, but they also shared an uncanny and surprising coordination. Two of the three papers on F.15 involved mirror neurons, the recent neurophysiological discovery of synapses that fire the same way for an action whether it is carried out by you or by me (your hand grasps, the synapses fire as if my hand grasped). Mirror neurons are an exacting exemplar for consubstantiality. The first paper got at this issue through film--specifically "inducements to identify," and resolving the propositional quality of identity and suggesting identity as an acting together of subject and object (here, a tie to genre and uptake). The third paper--so theoretically rich that my notes were soon forgotten--dealt with the equalization of identification, consubstantiality and sociality, while working toward a "constitutive mimesis" and "mimetico-affective contagion." And the second paper--also very strong and worthwhile--engaged an "emergent rhetoric of randomness" through matters of causality, randomness and bluffing--particular to poker. The panel on genre was an easy choice because we're reading Devitt's book for tomorrow's 712 (Spinuzzi's Tracing Genres is up next week). Bawarshi led off with a paper on uptake--the space between genre and context. Uptakes are oftentimes conceptual and so, as was resolved in the Q&A, they're difficult to study using empirical frameworks. Uptakes correlate to the perlocutionary effects (from speech act theory), but rather than applying to utterances, uptakes name the living memory of a genre--a genre's persistence. He also suggested uptake profiles--sketches of sorts that would characterize "coordinated uptake" or "learned recognitions of significances" that are also shared. Because imitation involves uptake (in typified social action), I sensed a connection--an echo--between these papers and the previous panel. In the second paper, Devitt worked at the problem of how genres interact: genre intertextuality or "intergenerality." Specifically, Devitt dealt with individuals and their genre repertoires--especially important for her larger interest in teaching genre awareness. Students, she said, come in with genres, and this genre portability/transfer can be useful for teaching genre awareness. She re-emphasized two points when wrapping up: 1) People do not write in a genre vacuum; and 2) People adhere to known genres even while adapting to new genres. The final two papers on the panel looked at the evolution of the petition as a genre and the genealogy of email, particularly student-professor email interchanges in the context of Anne Freadman's work on uptake.

Later in the day I went to J.13 Brining Techne Front and Center: Examining the Material of the Art of Writing and then the blogging SIG. Saturday morning it was K.23 From Panel to Gallery: Twelve Digital Writings, One Installation and L.04 New Media, New Curricula.

Attended six panels, not counting my own slot at Computer Connections, the chair's address, and the SIG. Not bad. I missed a bunch that I would've liked to attend, but I felt like crud on Friday and so opted for a mid-day nap rather than grinding myself into conference dust.

Travels home were safe and good for pushing through a bit of reading. Even if the flight home on United (a.k.a. Sauna Skyways) was delayed an hour-and-a-half and also turned out to be the warmest flight I've ever suffered through (plus 90F in the cabin, I swear), it was much better than last year's trip.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

CCCC Chicago

Vanishing Point

I snuck away from the conference hotel yesterday afternoon to grab a few photos at the lakefront--one of the many positives to attending a conference in downtown Chicago this week. It was sunny and 45F, perfect for a brisk stroll along the lakeshore.

Initial impressions of the conference: 1. Smooth travels, after de-icing in Syracuse. 2. Can't get a cell phone signal in the hotel. 3. The "high" speed internet connection rung up at $10 per day. nd cld nly gt ntrmttnt cnnctvty ystrdy ftrnn. I think I could count the baud rate on one hand a few times...or deliver the data packets by passenger pigeon faster than they travelled through the wires. By "high speed," Hilton, do you really mean, "Hi, Speed" (bc you're so happy to see Speed when it visits)? No, you're right, I really don't need to spend much time with the internets in the days ahead. 4. Good food, great company. And that, of course, makes the conference conferentially satisfying.

Enough. The list will grow, as will the photo set. I'm going to grab something to eat, attend the keynote address and gear up for the talk about CCC Online later this afternoon.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Quincianos

Fifteen years, so quickly. ;Felicidades!, kid.

Hat or Scarf

Plane Redaction

Monday, March 20, 2006

The CCCCut

The HairCCCCut

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Like a Cold Compress for a Basketball Fever

Open invitation: If you're reading this, you're in time to join in this year's NCAA pick'em fun. Prepared to fill out a bracket against the best in all blogspace? For the third year, I've set up a tournament group at Yahoo! for the upcoming NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship Tournament. You are invited to join the Bloggers' Mad Dance III (ID# 37991). It's all free, no $ involved (but do bring your braggadocio). Flip me an email behind the back if you have any questions: dmueller at earthwidemoth dot com. All are welcome, bloggers and non-bloggers alike. Group capacity: 1 winner and 49 losers "champions at heart." At stake: admiration, glory, etc. And of course you can promote this to anybody you'd like to join (on your blog, via email, whatever); pass it on, in other words.

Yahoo! Tournament Pick'em
Group: Bloggers' Mad Dance III (ID# 37991)
Password: ewm
Set your picks after bracket assignments on Sunday, March 12. Sign up before the start of round one, five minutes before tip-off this Thursday, March 16.

Phonographies

But that's not what I went to the bookstore for. I stopped down there to purchase a copy of Weheliye's Phonographies (a late arrival, absent from the shelves when the semester started). It's assigned for Afrofuturism in two weeks, and as I've been trying to maximize break for getting a jump on the end-o-sem workpile, I read through the library's copy of the book, finishing it last night. But it's good enough to own. In fact, if the "DJing is writing, writing is DJing" plug in Miller's Rhythm Science resonated for you, Weheliye has an entire chapter on the mix (c. 3). His opening chapters (the Intro and c. 1) also have a few good pieces on the record's function as an inscribed sonic medium. There's much here to elaborate up the uncanny ties between writing and phonography, to extend them, etc. The second chapter, "I am, I be," links sound to identity, working across issues of opacity and "sonic conjuring" to categories and constellations of the subject (also echoes W.'s article on black subjectivity, the optic/phonic and posthumanism in Social Text). The third chapter: DuBois and the mix. c. 4: sound's construction of space, read through Ellison's "Living with Music," and Darnell Martin's I Like It Like That. And c. 5 reads the circulation of the diasporic motif in songs by The Fugees, Advanced Chemistry, and Tricky and Martina. The "Outro" has a bit to say about about his methods and also, drawing on Massumi briefly, makes a case for affirmative methods: "'techniques which embrace their own inventiveness and are not afraid to own up to the fact that they add (if so meagerly) to reality'" (208). Chapters 4 and 5 stand out from the others as places where Weheliye gives readings; his approach in those chapters is somewhat less theoretical than in the others, aligning with more literary studies or cultural studies re-presentations of sources. And yet, I expect to return to c. 4 for his arguments about "sounding space/spacing sound" and the issues of space remade by music, noise. For a more careful review, read this.

Overstayed

I just returned from the SU bookstore. They have tables heaped up with Orange t-shirts; the place is all a'bustle with game-day celebrants grabbing up enough tees for the family. The two shirts: (in white) 2006 Big East Tournament Champions and (in orange) Overrated. I'm all for Jee-Mack putting on one of the 'Overrated' shirts after SU won the conference title last weekend, but I can't say it's a shirt I'd feel confident wearing during tonight's game against Texas A&M. I think SU will win the game, but the 'Overrated' shirt is a jinx of all jinxes, if ever a sporting jinx could be proved, that is. The thing is, Jee-Mack was brilliant in the Big East tourney, and Boeheim might've been right about SU not winning ten flocking games this season without him. Just to keep things in perspective, however, SU didn't have the greatest of seasons until last week. Granted, like my coach used to remind us (after those rare wins), you're only as good as your last game. I'd wait until the end of the NCAAs to boast about Jee-Mack's rating. He's one of the best SU players for his career, and he had an astounding streak of success last week, but they still have games remaining. And if he's awf against A&M or LSU, I can't say I'd want to be wearing an 'Overrated' shirt when their season comes to wraps.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bluffing

Visited the orthopedic doc today.  Sat down with a doctor's double...a helper, something or other like clinician's assistant, who reported that the knee problem won't require surgery.  You sure that's my file? The meniscus is intact.  Healthy.  The source of pain, which is quite real I'd add, happens to be a 5mm "cartilage ulceration" on the end of the leg bone (I can't remember which one...femur?). Beats the heck out of a cartilage uncertaination.  The asst. said it's a condition resembling arthritis, although "it's not arthritis."  Good.  Good.

In short I've been cleared for low-impact stuff to be moderated only by the pain (walking, naps, watching NCAAs).  And slighter (decreasing) pain lingers, but it's not as bad as it once was.  Swelling is the explanation--the same cause of the electickle nerve-shocks I get on the bottom of my foot when I stand up every now and then.  Long term outlook: four to six weeks and it'll be like nothing ever went wrong. Possible remainder: a tiny pock will remain in the cartilage, the memory of this ulceration. 

And so I feel like a jerk for crying foul to blogspace, for wallowing in the many em/sym/anti/pathies of you all.  But a relieved jerk, a delighted, grateful jerk, encouraged now that I can get some more action out of my basketball sneakers, return to the hardwoods before the end of the semester and not be forced to pass on the Native Vision camp in early June. And I did get to try on some of the wildest shorts ever for the MRI.  If a team was decked out in these duds for the NCAAs, I'd foresee them to the championship on style alone (reminds me of the bible college I watched play in KC a few years ago that wore warm-up pants for the game.  To the coach: You guys want to change off those warm-up pants?  Coach: We play in them. To the coach: Oh.)

Enough.  Got D.'s birthday to celebrate.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Cuttlefish and Its Ink

From Barthes' RB:

I am writing this day after day; it takes, it sets: the cuttlefish produces its ink: I tie up my image-system (in order to protest myself and at the same time to offer myself).

How will I know that the book is finished? In other words, as always, it is a matter of elaborating a language. Now, in every language the signs return, and by dint of returning they end by saturating the lexicon--the work. Having uttered the substance of these fragments for some months, what happens to me subsequently is arranged quite spontaneously (without forcing) under the utterances that have already been made: the structure is gradually woven, and in creating itself, it increasingly magnetizes: thus it constructs for itself, without any plan on my part, a repertoire which is both finite and perpetual, like that of language. At a certain moment, no further transformation is possible but the one which occurred to the ship Argo: I could keep the book a very long time, by gradually changing each of its fragments. (163-4)

It didn't spring to mind while I was resting face-up in the MRI machine yesterday afternoon (tomorrow's entry?), but I eventually settled on a title for WRT302, as I noted in the comments following yesterday's entry expressing my dilemma, a title brought about by RB's bit above. So it'll be WRT302: The Digital and Its Links. I thought about The Network and Its Links, but opted for the former. Plus I had a thousand really good suggestions, all of which I'd have done well to take up. The course proper is still six months out; I wanted something splashy enough to attract enrollments and also something that makes theoretical sense to me--something that would motivate me toward working carefully through the many decisions between now and then. I really like the way RB gets at the ratio between stabilization and drift, the inter-portions of anchor and flotation, between a buried bow in the sand and a three-thousand year voyage. The "image-system" generalizes to digital composition quite effectively, I'd argue; arrangement and spontaneity, "structure is gradually woven." Could be true of.... And so it will do. Not to mention, when I decided, yes, this is it, I still had the metallic grind and industrial deep-buzz of the body-part scanner lasting with me into the evening; all the more appeal for the idea of composition as the increasing magnetization of ongoing attempts.

Friday, March 10, 2006

A Snappier Title

Help! I need a catchy title for the digital writing course I'm teaching next fall.  I've been racking my brain for a half hour now, running through titular possibilities and trying to land a phrase with enough pizzazz to spark interest and compel enrollments.  Here are a few that I've ruled out (fine...so what if a few of these are still in the running, the running is thin).

  • WRT302: Status 405 Method Not Allowed
  • WRT302: Effectively Banning Virtual Shenanigans
  • WRT302: Writing Teachnologies: Chalk, Dry Erase Markers and Smartboards
  • WRT302: Two-Button Mice and Macs
  • WRT302: Dude, Where's My Jump Drive?
  • WRT302: The Pop-up Experience: Digidipity and Exasperation
  • WRT302: Three-hole Punchers as Overlooked Writing Technology
  • WRT302: Minimize, Restore Down, Close: The Abundant Adaptabilities of Windows
  • WRT302: BRB: Dearest Cyber...I've Missed You
  • WRT302: Investigating the Rising Cost of Grounded Plug Adapters
  • WRT302: Discordant Coloration: From Painting the Screen to Painting the Walls
  • WRT302: Climbing Beneath the Desk to Untangle Wires: A Gordian Approach
  • WRT302: Wired Panaceas: Now Don't You Feel Better?
  • WRT302: Wifi, Bird-flu and Other Untreatable Stuff in the Air
  • WRT302: Familiar Voltage: My Uncle's An Electrician
  • WRT302: ASCII, We Hardly Knew Ye

Maybe it will come to me when I slide into the MRI tube later today for a good going-over of my knee.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Orangin

If yesterday's nail-biter against eight-seeded Cincinnati wasn't enough to secure the Orange a spot in the NCAA tournament, today's squeaker in OT against #1 UConn was, pretty well locking up a place for SU among the 34 teams to be chosen by the committee this Sunday. Following Boeheim's post-game tongue-lashing of the local media coverage yesterday, the tiresome coverage that for weeks on end has in at least one case charactered senior point guard Gerry McNamara as over-rated, I admit that I was surprised. Not really necessary, I thought, to waste a precious press-conference f-word after a win, especially when referring to the Daily Orange, a student-run paper that has done much of late to gain a reputation for unscrupulous reporting. But whatever else Boeheim said--to the team most especially--worked (uh...did you hear him today acknowledge that both his wife and the chancellor are upset with him...?). The Orange have been sloppy at times (even during these wins...astoundingly sloppy in crucial moments), but today more than ever I thought we had a glimpse at how well coached this team is. What I'm getting at is that a team that goes from a 39-point loss at Depaul to a two-point overtime win against UConn in a single week is a team that gives a coach absolute fits. Who wouldn't be prone to letting slip with f&%^ coaching this team? No, of course, not that it's excusable to say such things, even when you're expressing contempt for those who've been publicly bagging on the senior who has tossed in two amazing shots to carry you into the semis of the Big East tourney.

I can't remember any sequence of games in March where a team so completely doubted and so rickety at times came through with two bigger shots (by the same guy, no less) than SU and Gerry McNamara yesterday and today. I should admit that I was a skeptic in recent weeks, figuring, as I have all along, that this group would be as good or as bad as its bigs because the guard play is relatively reliable by comparison. I wasn't convinced of the toughness of the frontcourt, and I'm still not sure they've got the depth to put together the string of miracle wins needed to advance very far in the tournament of 64...er 65, considering the foul trouble Roberts and Watkins keep getting into. This is only to say that the last two days of early-afternoon match-ups in the Big East tournament have been overspilling with Marchy goodness, and I will be watching again tomorrow for their contest against G'town or Marquette, even if it means listening to Bill Raftery's ridiculously over-inflected declaration of "onions" every time somebody hits a big shot in the last five minutes. Or, OniONS! (Because they make an eye tearful?) The rest of the tournament(s) will have to feature a heavy load of intense scenarios to top the last two days of Syracuse hoops craziness.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Spring Break Eve Eve

I've had my head in the grad-sand of late with all that might be expected of year and semester 2.2 in the four-year PhD program. Now that I'm on the verge of spring break, I am doing my best to brace for an amazingly productive and regenerative month of March (I know it's the 7th, but we're due to exceed freezing temps tomorrow...finally). And I say "verge" because I still have one class that meets tomorrow evening (albeit virtually for this particular session), and I'm down for leading the chat-client discussion on Ronald Eglash's African Fractals, what's proven to be a provocative read through issues of pattern/math language, design and fractals. We're also IMing for an hour with the editor of a book we read earlier this semester.

After that, break is officially underway, and it includes highfalutin plans for fine-tuning my qualifying exam lists. I have loosely defined areas, and although I haven't yet formalized a committee, I want to spend three days of the break fixing the lists (which are still very much under construction) and write a half page or so on each exam toward proposals. I don't have any strict deadline for this work, but I've been finding respite in stealing moments for future work, ahead of this semester. In those moments when I lack energy for the current lineup of seminar projects (nah, it's not as bad as I'm making it sound) or when I have the slightest impulse to work on exam lists, I do it. That simple. And why not? It's all going to get done one way or the other before the middle of May.

Here is what's up for the next fourteen days:

D. and Ph.'s birthdays (exactly one week apart); this'll make the average age in our house 26.33.
In no special order, they're wishing for 1. a dog, 2. a laptop, 3. car detailing and wash, 4. dinner at Pastabilities, 5. something I've forgotten.
Firm up CCCC pieces
Read Devitt's Writing Genres
Read Spinuzzi's Tracing Genres Through Organizations
Read three articles for GEO plus an outline and annotated bib for that paper
Read Weheliye's Phonographies (plus turn out two 1pp response paper, nos. 8 and 9 of 10 this sem.)
Drafting of 651 paper
Taxes
Roughing out a New and Improved! teaching philosophy statement
Some other work converting 78 slides to jpegs and making a keynote address web-ready
Wallowing in the NCAA Conf. tourney coverage and early rounds of the Big Dance
And if I'm lucky enough to win the good graces of my slow-to-act health care provider, an MRI...any day now.

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Digital Writing

Four days until I have to turn in a course description for the WRT302 course I'm teaching in the fall. Here's what I've come up with so far, keeping as much as possible with the official course description.

WRT302: Advanced Writing Studio: Digital Writing
With the shift from writing the page to writing the screen we encounter both expanded possibilities and new responsibilities for assembling images, text, audio and video.  In WRT302, we will compose new media texts while engaging issues at the crossroads of writing activity and specific digital technologies.  The course will balance experimentation and application with conceptual approaches; in addition to reading about and exploring online tools, students will propose and develop a series of projects that extend from our investigations of specific sites and applications, including simple web pages, weblogs, wikis, podcasts, video, and tag-based systems such as Flickr and del.icio.us.  Opening lines of inquiry involve the following questions:  What is gained and lost in the transition from the page to the screen? What are the practices and techniques we might associate with digital writing? How do digital texts circulate? How are they read and by whom? How are acts of digital writing implicated with choices about navigation, links, and code? This course will also foreground invention, design, usability and accessibility.  All students are encouraged to enroll. No previous experience with computers is required; however, some familiarity with basic uses of technology will be helpful. Email dmueller -at- syr.edu for more information.

I welcome all critique and insight. I'm hesitant to include the phrase "new responsibilities" in the first sentence.  The final point about previous experience is messy, too.  Is it common to be explicit about experience with technologies going into a course like this one? I haven't committed to any readings yet, but I have a few highly-probables, and I've ordered a desk copy of this techxbook, fresh off the press.  The projects, too, will have to be only provisionally defined/outlined because I won't know the ease-with-tech felt by the students until I meet them.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Nodes from Class

Here's a Cmap draft of the development of modern composition studies, roughly reproduced from notes on the board during Tuesday's 712. I went back and snapped a digital photo of the chalkboard yesterday (preserved from the day before with a "Please do not erase"). Then, to develop the Cmap, I inserted the photograph as a temporary background to approximate the spatial arrangement of links and nodes. After that, I quick-shopped a periodization backdrop to emphasize the past few decades as phases of disciplinary development (fluctuation, upheaval, etc.). And finally, I shifted around a few of the nodes, repositioned other stuff, tinkered with color schemes and sent off a draft for future--ongoing--revisions. The map of complandia? Certainly not; not in any perfected, exhaustive or territory-analog kind of way. But one map of complandia. Next I need to figure out how to set up Cmaps on a server for collaborative map-making. I'll argue that this model holds promise for 1.) mapping complex histories; 2.) exploring incongruous accounts of disciplinary formation, extradisciplinary developments running through those formations, and sub-disciplinary peaks and valleys (rising and falling, trends, etc.); and 3.) charting disciplinary mythologies and imaginaries through the idiosyncrasies of individual and group percept-cartography (granted, I don't know that there is such a thing as "percept-cartography"; I'm making that part up on the fly). Although this map came together during a single class session, it could be updated, for pretty much any course, let's say, over several weeks, possibly accounting for emerging ties and emerging locative criteria/rationale as the course unfolds.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Local.Live

On another recommendation from the geography course, I just checked out local.live.com. The aerial photos on Local.Live aren't as high in resolution as the ones used by Google, but the map view (using Navtech) is quite detailed (better shading, mild arrows for traffic direction, a different place-name scheme), I'd say, and the bird's eye perspective is especially worth a look. Here's the bird's eye view of SU's Quad----facing south; the middle-most building is Huntington Beard Crouse, the place I pass the time many days.

And another view, facing westward this time, at a full zoom. I'd include a view of our house, but you'd be able to see how unkempt the lawn was before winter.