Immigrant

March 31st, 2008

talk about an intrinsic motivation to study. Wow, that story was nothing like anything i ever read before. I am still trying to figure out the moral. Is it telling us, that our pride is in the way of many things. It seems to me as if this story had a great supply of morals.

I simply loved the puppy dog comparison. Great way to look at things.

I was surprised there was always someone to rescue, or watch over him. That to me was like a god. And he did not stop the guy from getting burned, he needed that burn to figure out a bunch of other things. But he didn’t get seriously hurt. So the burn served a purpose.

It must be really really strange walking around with the awareness that everyone around you is constantly reading your thoughts. And that even the thought of what to write in teh letter doesn’t matter because the know you wouldn’t put anything harmful in there because you can not because of your pride being in the way or because you finally figured things out and feel like sharing your thoughts wouldn’t be understood by anyone anyway.

Why did the father finally say the name in the real language? What was the message behind that?

My goodness, I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep tonight, way too many thoughts rambling through my mind. It’ll be a great discussion tomorrow!

podcast fever

March 31st, 2008

After subscribing to like 20 podcasts I have been quite busy listening and watching.

I observed a pattern, they all start similar and they all end similar. Each podcast has a introduction which is always  the same, introducing the maker, giving the URL and introducing the podcasts topic.

The end is usually a thank you to the listener and oftentimes the URL again. Some podcasts don’t end quite that formal, they have a punchline of some sort.

There is a slight difference in podcasts made for children vs. podcast for adults. Though both follow the pattern.

Also a podcast has to be a series of some sort, otherwise it is simply a soundfile.

I have also looked at a few different podcast collectors, but I ran into a little problem there, especially because there aren’t many podcast collectors out there for mac users. I don’t think the collectors will be part of my final project, but I am still thinking about that.

I also decided I have to brainstorm about an original name for my podcast because one thing I noticed is that the names out there are all quite boring simply describing the cast, very few funny ones.

Deschooling Society

March 27th, 2008

Well, this text has had quite the effect on me, it has been roaming around in my head for the past few days and I have to say, I still disagree with Illich.

I have to say I actually enjoyed going to school for the most part. Don’t consider me a nerd, as the majority, I didn’t really care too much for the homework part. Unless it was a logical problem or something that could pass as a game. 🙂

But looking back, even though I resented studying vocab in the afternoon, there usually came a point with about every subject I studied later in life where it suddenly clicked and I was glad someone had encouraged or forced me to continue.

So to me deschooling doesn’t make any sense. Another example that comes to my head is the way I was raised concerning food. Me and my sibblings had to eat whatever was served and a healthy serving of it. We had to stay on the table until we finished our plate and if time didn’t permit that we had to finish it for dinner. (Lunch is the big meal in Germany) We had to keep trying the foods every time, no matter if we had determined we didn’t like onions or mushrooms or tomatoes. My parents insisted that taste develops and changes with time and they kept telling us we might be surprised some day we like it. And they were right. But believe me, we weren’t happy campers all the time being forced to eat whatever was served. Would I raise my kids the same way? May not quite as extreme, but YES! Would I encourage them to study Spanish on top of French and English even though they think those languages are hard enough? Definately!

Also in a society that is as competetive as the one we live in, I can not imagine deschooling at all!

Reasons for knocking at an empty house

March 20th, 2008

(unfortunately the internet wasn’t working in Madison last night…)

I was very intrigued by the title “Condominiums in Data Space?” and the more I read the more I was wondering why Viola chose that title.

I loved all the thoughts he brought up and the little anecdotes were just great, but I could not make a connection to the Condominiums.

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So I googled condominium to make sure there isn’t more than the one meaning I knew. I found some pictures of condominiums and was wondering what it would be like to have a swimming pool in Data Space…

Actually the Abbey memory system was the only connection I could make to the dominium. It reaminded me of a man that came to my university in Germany to talk about memory. He was amazing and tried to teach us how to remember things. It was more of a show, but one thing he did was take a room and bind terms we were supposed to memorize to certain objects in the room. Figure 31.2 brought a vivid image of this memorizing expert to my mind.

Personally I think Dr. Campbell chose this reading because Viola talked a lot about the holistic idea. The Whole is the sum of its parts! At about that point in the reading I went back to check if the title of the reading maybe was the title of a book and we just had an excerpt. But I was even more surprised when the booktitle turned out to be “Reasons for knocking at an empty house”.

My question is: Did Viola pick the titles to get peoples attention? Or did he actually believe they make sense? And what does a porcupine have to do with empty houses and condominiums?

His comments about visual diagrams branching off and freeing students from boring and incompetent teaches was a little too much for my taste. He just through so many ideas in this short piece of writing and up to that point I actually enjoyed the mindjogging, but with this statement he almost suggested that all teachers were incompetent and boring. And is it really the computer programmers job to free students from those teachers or should politicians do sth about teachers? (Well if I look at the “no child left behind” act, I actually might change my mind and go with the computerprogrammers… )

I loved his analogy with the chopsticks. And actually thinking about this analogy finally makes me realize where he might be coming from with his condominium idea. Some people own webspace (condominiums) others have to rent the webspace, or pay for using the pool 🙂

Google knows we love simulations

March 18th, 2008

So, did google built this “Disneyland” for their workers sake or to show off to the rest of the world?

BBC article about the google world in Zürich.

I am sure they wanted to kill several birds with one stone. They must be confident that their workers still work more than they will play.

I just love the bean bag meeting room. How can you be serious at a meeting if everyone relaxes as if they were in their own living room?

I wonder if they open it up for tours, I would love to go and check it out! Maybe an internship would be a good idea, I think looking behind the scenes in the cafeterias kitchen would be really really great. All organic…

The lessons of Lucasfilm’s Habitat

March 17th, 2008

Well, I thought this article became more entertaining the more I read. I have to say I really didn’t get the backend / frontend thing, so anyone who understood what the author was trying to say in that passage, please help me out with that one.

I found the lesson towards the end very interesting. The way people reacted when the programmers interfered. Appearently many people use these kind of games as a get away from reality, or to live a character they would like to be but aren’t. So adding the societies moral to the game didn’t go very well with the players.

Playing along their way though in order to get back to “normal” was greatly appreciated. Lets pay lots of money to buy the gun back. To be honest I expected the exchange of money for gun not to go over as peacefully as it did. I thought the gun holder would shoot everyone present and take the money anyway…

I was very amused as well with the people spending hours buying and selling dolls, just to spend the money on a treasure hunt.

So basically I guess the lesson that Lucasfilm’s Habitat learned throughout the whole article is that they can’t plan what is going to happen and that it is best to interfere as little as possible, even if that means giving up their own moral standards. But essentially the players will take care of things themselves and even create a democracy. And if they don’t that just shows, that crime in video and computergames is becoming more and more acceptable. Whether it is cheating or killing or stealing, or manipulating…

I understand though, that for a programmer it must be very frustrating if someone cheats by manipulating the programm they built, because it is a way of destroying a piece of art.

And as with most of the articles before I find it very amazing how fast new and better things are developed in the new media sector and that something like Habitat which was developed 17 years ago has been recreated on a much higher level and still attracts many many players, and they even invest real money into their characters. And the people working on Habitat knew that all along.

more time frames

March 13th, 2008

So I thought just for fun I’d google the word “time frames”…

I was really surprised that none of the first sites found were related to our reading.

The very first one was a page called time-frames.com and it is shop that sells frames divided into little frames. So in a way it is realated afterall. 🙂

time and space divided through frame

March 13th, 2008

Well, before I forget my thought, I better blog about it.

So the frame dividing time makes total sense if you look at the timeless picture that we looked at for quite some time today. It doesn’t have a frame or only half a frame.

Why? because it is timeless, so something timeless can’t be divided, therefor no frame.

And going back to those pictures with the pause, the one without the frame was the one that worked best for me. The pause, or that clock ticking while he was thinking was most present in that picture.

And having said that now, a new thought comes to my mind. In none of the comics did he use a clock showing that time had passed. Why? Is it too much work for the reader to see if the hands have moved? Why does the fact that time has passed have to be shown implicitly instead of explicitly? Wouldn’t it be easiest to just draw a little clock in the corner? There was one single one that said “a month later” in the corner, why can’t they do that for all the ones that have a pause inbetween? Does the cartoonist need the chalenge of showing it differently through his drawing skills?

Way too many questions! I never thought a comic could make me ponder so much or even lead to so many questions.

Time Frames

March 12th, 2008

I usually have the hardest time with the readings for this class. As English is not my mother tongue most the readings in this book have been very challenging for me. The first thing I usually do is check how many pages the reading has, in order to plan how many hours it’ll take me to read it. So far the average has been 3.5 hours per reading. So time frames was my favorite reading by far! 🙂

I had never analyzed comics before and found McClouds thoughts quite interesting.

This weekend two people in church had told me seperately from each other in different conversations “time will tell”, so when I read it in his comic I was just struck and it made the reading even more personal.

I know people who just love comics, and who spend hours and hours reading them. I usually prefer a good book, or a short comic in a newspaper, but I am not a big fan of comic books. I find them tirering to read. And even with this interesting one I fell asleep half way through. 🙂 Well, I think the reason I prefer books to comics is that I can come up with my own images in my head. Also the print is always in the same size and usually bigger than in those tiny speach bubbles.

But many people like cartoons because it is less writing and more pictures and as I said at the beginning that was exactly the reason why I appreciated this chapter so much.

The one thing I didn’t understand is what this story had to do with New Media. So far I thought the New Media meant technology and suddenly we go back to comics. So maybe someone has an answer for me…

I have to say his closing line really made me think though. “All depends on your frame of mind” is there a pun hidden? Can we transfer this to the New Media?

Oh and another thing that came to my mind was an anecdote. My first encounter with the American way of saying that a clock doesn’t show the correct time. Many years back I was an exchange student in North Dakota. During a conversation my little host sister said that the clock was going fast. And I laughed and tried to explain that all clocks go the same speed, and that the one she was talking about simply told the wrong time. She insisted though that the clock was going fast and so my hostmother stepped in and explained to me, that this was the correct way of expressing it. To this day I think it is funny though that American clocks go fast and slow. And all this talking about time frames brought this memory back… 🙂

Mindstorms

March 10th, 2008

I just love the title of this article. And a mindstorm was going on in my mind throughout the reading as well.I just think it is so fascinating, that 28 years ago someone was predicting the future so acurately. Teading this article reminded me of reading an old science fiction novel. I constantly compared the things he wrote about to what we have today and to what we had when I went to high school. I remember in 10th grade we had to write programs for a little roboter, unfortunately everyone in the class had more knowledge than the teacher about computers in general and  this activity which was embeded in math class and could have been a lot of fun and very beneficial turned out to be one of the dullest tasks.Especially fascinating to me is that in 1980 when most people didn’t even know about computers yet and they were extreemly expensive someone was thinking about how these computers could be used in education. People put so much research into something that many people thought dangerous or insane. And they were right. Children are fascinated by technology and computers and they get absorbed and spend hours infront of them. So wouldn’t it make complete sense to use them for educational purposes?And what is most surprising is the cultural differences he talks about. Today I was at my practicum at Hugh Mercer elementary school. This elementary school has a computer lab and ESL students spend one period a day in the lab working on their language acquisition skills through computer programs. In Germany very few elementary schools are equiped with computers especially in the quantity they had them at Hugh Mercer. Also the smart boards that are used in many American classrooms haven’t found their way into German classrooms yet. So he really has a point comparing cultures and he doesn’t even have to go as far as comparing African culture to American culture even countries that don’t seem to be that different have completely different approaches to teaching.It certainly was very fascinating to read what kind of visions they had about 30 years ago and how many of those became true.