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akademic werdsakademic werds
written and published in Tinderbox 1.2.3
well, this good friday seems to be turning into a time for criticism, though i don't feel particularly critical (in these sense of criticising, of a normative negating) more sort of observational "a funny thing happened on the web the other day..."
several friends of mine have put referrer histories on their blog pages, it shows the last x number of links into a site. this is sorta interesting, and starts to indicate via these outward links that are actually inward links (they link back to whence the reader came but they're only there because the reader came, it's a hollow reciprocity) the web that is, well, the web. they make me suspicious.
something i used to enjoy doing is sitting and watching the live log on one of my web servers (still do enjoy doing it). it's a grossly unfair sort of viewing, i see the page requests, and i have dns resolving turned on (though it slows the server) so that a client's ip address generates a dns name (if one exists). so i might see that dp-23232-dorm21.brown.edu is having a look at my singin' in the rain essay and i know some student in a dorm at brown is visiting. or i'll see xxx.intermeida.uio.no and i'll know that one of my friends (and i usually know which) is visiting from intermedia at the university of oslo. so i know you're reading me but they don't know that i'm reading them reading me.
but its compulsive. it is something about the pleasure of knowing that someone is reading 'me' (whatever that means), but there's also something quite televisual about it all. the way the display changes as people and bots come through, it's like a string of characters on their way to a story or it is just about how it keeps changing - televisual flow. so for those who have put this nifty little referrer history thing on their pages, i wonder if, like me and my live log window, if they revisit their own page more or less secretly (by typing in the url directly so there's no referrer, or perhaps straight from the bookmark file?) and often to see who's been through since the last time. and if when they see that referrer list change if there isn't some pleasure in seeing new places, new visits, and the return of old friends.
and if that pleasure is there, then i think that pleasure needs to be wondered about (see i've got an anglo-australian film theory background, with a good dose of cultural studies once-upon-a-time too, hence pleasure is always understood to be something not so much pernicious or doubtful but as a means or ends in itself) and is perhaps in front of and before anything else. as diane greco rather wonderfully says, "let me be your mirror", though i'd probably want to introduce mr lacan in there and suggest that placing that history of others reading me into my writing is letting you be my mirror, it is the mis-recognition of the gaze (the referrer as the trace of the gaze which is a history of having read me) of the other by me that constructs me (why mis-recognition? well we don't know who they are, why they came, what they thought, what they did, all we know was that there was a link, a glance). the referrers indicate a glance towards me and by mirroring that glance on 'my' page i am not so much looking back as attempting to authenticate the trace of the glance to me. see, they see me. i must be ...
ah fashion. seems that at the moment it isn't the done thing you write your email address as either a mailto or as a url on pages but instead to write it out in english, so email@example.com becomes adrian dot miles at uib dot no
drives me crazy, spent like 10 minutes on someone's web site the other day wanting to email them and eventually on one page if find the dot at nonsense.
while writing it out is sort of stylistically/aesthetically cool (it has a nice poetic reverberation where the writing out concretises the performative url into its acoustic mark) i imagine the avowed purpose is to stop email addresses being harvested.
i actually think it's done because it concretises the performative, since email addresses are harvested by 'bots and if that's an issue there are all sorts of server and page level things you can do using robot exclusion standards to stop bots. the problem of course are bad bots that ignore the standard, but that won't work anyway since someone will just write a script to find any instance of string dot strong at string dot edu dot string (for instace, and just substitute edu for com or whatever, that way you're always going to get urls and not someone writing a poem about dots) and they'll harvest it that way. and in the process a simple thing about usability (that my mouse will change over a mailto or at least i can scan a document for things that cognitively appear to be like email addresses, or that my legitimate software that lets me grab text and automatically pull out email addresses in it) will have been broken.
but i think it's more about cool than spam. unless the only place your email address ever appears is on that web page (and not on other pages, email lists, your university email directory, conference pages....)
29.3 email uses and spam
synchronize pro os x has been out for a little while and i got to finally install and use it yesterday (had been trying the beta version in the past). for macs synchronize and synchronize pro has always been pretty much the best utility to backup and sync content between two computers (as opposed to backups in general where retrospect rules), but for a while on os x there really wasn't anything much good. anyway, with 100mb ethernet standard on my powerbook, a g4 server (gig ethernet) as the destination the thing synchronised over 5Gb of data is about 2 hours! (and it isn't just a straight copy or transfer, it has to record all files in a database it keeps to then workout what's been changed next time you sync). feels greedy to back up 5gb to a server off the laptop, but i'm a much happier camper now that i know there's at least one backup elsewhere of everything...
29.3 sync pro
enculturation is an online journal all about rhetoric writing and culture. edited by byron hawk and each issue is themed. this has very good stuff.
no, it's not an oxymoron. jill has sent me some tapes of the norwegian coverage of the winter olympics - in australia the coverage was appalling, and as a cross country skier we literally received about 40 seconds coverage each day on the dedicated nightly 2 hour coverage. so at least this way i get to watch some of the major cross country events.
anyway, norwegians are a pretty dour lot, and they have a very strong sense of equality, which is sometimes wonderful, and sometimes it tends to get in the way (can make it hard to recognise excellence). we're much the same in australia, we call it the tall poppy syndrome. but like australians norwegians are proud of their sporting heroes and achievements. what is surprising as i watch these tapes is how excited, vocable and, well, extreme, the commentators get as they get yet another gold/silver/bronze in an event. i mean they're just screaming and laughing, screaming and yelling. you'd never pick 'em for norwegians, it is just so, well, public.
26.3 norwegian excitement
another day, another class. lost the plot a bit today. in the tute i had a clear set of things i wanted the students to do. they were to have read some of the reading and bought a problem each. this they did wonderfully. but what i had thought i'd do was get them to start thinking about each other's problems, then talk about how you might go about answering the problems and also seeing what sorts of things they had problems with, in general. more or less to know what stuff i needed to concentrate on. but instead as they described their problems to the class i got into teacherly mode. that means i wanted to discuss and show ways in which their problems weren't problems. it's reactionary. and that's all it is. it's bad teaching. its thou shalt.
these are two blogs that have been set up in relation to rmit.
these projects are indirectly the result of work i did introducing blogs to someone at rmit who is a learning technology manager. good to see that they're being adopted.
my daughter sophie turned 7 today. this is what she wrote on the imac:
Sophie Miles 7. March the Twenty 4 Sunday. Unicorns studied into unicorns and magic especially magic becomes unicorns are magic. Sometimes I get it wrong but I don't mind. I go to Hogwards and St. Kilda Park Primary School.
::24 Mar 2002 15:29::
second honours class wasn't as good as the first. largely my own fault as i hadn't thought through where to go next properly. and i had a student wondering (intelligently) what the point of the deleuze stuff was in relation to cinema. in retrospect this seems to trigger a sort of defence mechanism so i slip into lecture tone and before i know it i'm running the show and filling in all the blanks rather than letting them find their way. i suspect in future empathy might be a good one way to proceed. as much for me as for my students. so a question like 'mmm, i can imagine that makes what we're doing even harder?' or some such would be useful. to slow me down and also to acknowledge the problem as a legitimate problem for the student that we need to work out how to answer (and yes adrian, saying perhaps we can return to that in a few weeks is a good enough answer).
apart from that they all did a really good job of finding and bringing resources, and so next week i will fill some theoretical blanks for them so that we can proceed. and i'll reformulate some problems so that we'll try and see how the reading we're doing connects to these problems.
14.3 honours 2
jill has some interesting links to a blog discussion going on about wht links and the web might be. sheesh, talk about reinventing the wheel. some the ideas and rhetoric is very good, nad interesting, and while i probably don't agree with jill about needing more ways to think about this (largely because the writing on linking is utterly dominated by the result of linking, not the link qua link) i do think some attention to someone like terry harpold (on links as absence) and rob shields would actually help the discussion. i guess the danger of blogging is (much like mark's criticisms of the reviews in versiontracker) is it encourages the world of the amateur. all for ideas out there, but sometimes people need to acknowledge that a lot of the work has already been done and this ought to be where these discussions begin from.
[Harpold, Terence. "The Misfortunes of Digital Text." The Emerging Cyberculture: Literacy, Paradigm, and Paradox. Eds. Stephanie Gibson, B and Ollie Oviedo, O. Cresskill NJ: Hampton Press, 2000. 129-49.
Harpold, Terry. "Threnody: Psychoanalytic Digressions on the Subject of Hypertexts." Hypermedia and Literary Studies. Eds. Paul Delany and George P. Landow. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1994. 171-81.
Harpold, Terry. "The Contingencies of the Hypertext Link." Writing on the Edge. 2.2 pp. 126-37.
Shields, Rob. "Hypertext Links: The Ethic of the Index and Its Space-Time Effects." The World Wide Web and Contemporary Cultural Theory. Eds. Andrew Herman and Thomas Swiss. New York: Routledge, 2000. 145-60. ]
14.3 links as
the larger second tute in hypertext went wonderfully this week. pretty much just kept them in groups for the whole tute and had them doing stuff. graphing what they know now to what they want to know at the end, how would they know, what would they need to do to get there. then the plotted a pile of stuff about their own learning styles, and i told them they should use that to help them work out how to get to where they wanted to go in the subject.
and it came together nicely when i asked what i needed to to. one thing was technical handouts going over the techie stuff we do. my first reaction was defensive (i know how much work that cna be to write), but then i realied i'd just asked them to think about their own learning styles so if that's how they learn (and i remember when i got my first mac, i read the little mac book cover to cover and i think i read most of one the early mac bibles too). so i said that if that's what this student needed to learn then why don't i spend time next class showing all the places you can find documentation (and i guess learning the right questions to ask) so you can find it yourself. so teaching them how to find what they need rather than me just providing it. fantastic.
they all agreed that they were the only ones who knew if they did the stuff, and they also agreed that the list of things they came up with to get to where they wanted to in the subject was what 'participation' meant. so they'll assess their own participation with some peer review. now i just have to make sure that they own the actual process.
14.3 second second time
is my hypertext 2001 paper from aarhus. published in jodi, out now.
there's been a project that i've thought i've wanted to do for several years now, but i've deferred, hidden from it, or otherwise just decided it's too big, too hard, and too something else to try.
well. i'm starting. it's going to be a commentary on deleuze's two books on cinema. it is going to be piecemeal. it is going to take me at least 4 years. it is going to include quicktime clips that let me show and/or explore what deleuze's on about. or not.
why now? i'm teaching it again, and i'd like to keep teaching it. i'm really enjoying the teaching, now that i have tinderbox i have something that will let me build it up over time which is the only way i'm ever going to do it. and this stuff is at the heart of most of what i do and informs it all (my understanding of hypertext, cinema, and their intersection) yet i've never particularly formalised that. oh, and it's another opportunity to experiment with novel and productive methodologies of academic engagement that leverage the advantages of electracy (mr ulmer's always handy isn't he?).
13.3 a new file
well second tute. new problems. i got students to do some graphs. one was how much they thought they knew about hypertext now and the other was how much they wanted to know at the end of the course. then i wanted them to think about how would they know that the difference they just drew would've happened. then what did they think they'd have to do to get there. my arch agenda though was to get them to see that if i wanted to mark 30% of this subject on 'participation' (what i was actually doing was getting them to define what 'participation' might be and achieve so that they didn't think of it as just attending) then the only person who would know would be themselves. so they can self assess this, though with some peer review and i'll do an audit every now and then.
of course the problem i ended up with was that this doesn't require them to do the reading. which is a problem since they all know if they don't do the reading their learning will be compromised but they also know that without an additional incentive they won't do the reading. so after the class i realised that what i need to do is to frame each class around an event that a) doesn't describe/reiterate the reading (since that quickly teaches them they don't need to do the reading) and b) that means they can only participate 'successfully' if they have done the reading. i know impromptu debates work well for this, but i need other events.
the other thing i completely forget to ask (which i had wanted to ask) was what did they think i (as their teacher) needed to do for them so suceed in the subject. make sure i remember that one for the second group.
oh, and the problem about the first group being tested on and the second group getting the benefits. because there is a ridiculous discrepancy at the moment in class sizes (15 compared to 25) i think that pretty much balances out these things.
13.3 second time
picked up from francesco schiavon on the quicktime list:
To my surprise this baby runs in OS X.
Playing with it I learnt that it shows the current timecode in a modal window so that's kind of useless.
But I also found that if you take a note of the timecode of the first frame, then delete the current timecode track and then create a new one, you can enter the timecode of the first frame so it does not change, but when you add the new track you can make it visible. Then you can save your movie and enjoy the new timecode track you just added.
timecode in qt
the 2002 vog for the international day of time based art is the work that went into the kunst.no exhibition that jeremy welsh set up. he had the very wonderful idea of work being performed and documented on feb. 20th (20.02.2002) as a fluxus sort of event and the documentation of these events is at http://kunst.no/20022002/. my contribution is probably not quite in the spirit as i didn't document an event on the day tht relates to the day so much as record some stuff of my kids on the day, then sampled that in the way i mentioned the other day (and as the movie describes).
i find this one really just aesthetically pleasing. particularly when the movie gets towards the end so its all text and mousing into the video layers the text over everything. it's just, well, good. and i think i'm learning or thinking much better about the relation of text to image in these works, its a much stronger relation than the earlier pieces. this could be because i've got the text within the frame of the movie now?
have added a new vog to the site. at long last. i actually have 2 others but they're sitting elsewhere before they're published in other places. then i'll put them on the vog site.
i thought about doing the same thing with this one, since i really like it and think it's quite a good development of my general stuff (i'm resisting calling it an oeuvre). i've layered the text directly over the video and use mouse entry events in the video to control the visibility of the text tracks. this is why there isn't accompanying text for this vog, i've put the text i need very much into the movie which is something i think i'll keep doing for a while.
some technical notes. when you add a text track over a video track the other video tracks shudder/stutter as the text track plays over the video. adding text tracks over all the video tracks fixes this. seems that all the videos need text overlays or none... also i had wanted to use the mouse enter event to toggle the text track but the problem with this is that if the mouse stays in the sprite then you get serious performance problems as the movie keeps checking to see if the mouse is in or not to toggle. well, i think that's the problem. i can use the idle setting to slow that down but rther than toggling just moving layers works fine.
11.3 australian in bergen
in my honours seminar (recent issues in film theory though it's actually a seminar only on deleuze) my 4 students are going to write research blogs during the semester. and i've decided to put my money (assessment) where my mouth is so that the blogs have the same assessement weight as their research essay. this is because blogs are excellent places to deal with academic writing processes, which is one of the main things i want to teach them..
i've also pretty much agreed with them that i should be doing what they're doing. not sure how i'll manage some of it - i've wanted to write what i guess would become a big project on deleuze for quite a few years - including multimedia examples and that stuff, but i've put it off and put it off... this isn't going to be it, but there do seem to be some demons to confront if i'm going to blog some of my deleuze cinema stuff.
anyway, i didn't offer them a lecture but the problem of deleuze and cinema and what might we need to find out to proceed. they made up a rather good list of wanting to know who he was, where he 'fits' in philosophy, what commentaries might be out there, why he wrote on cinema, and several other things. then we each agreed to find four references to bring to next week's class on the particular area that interested us. i'll photocopy them all for everyone else, and we'll proceed from there.
basically its problem based learning where they identify what they don't know, develop strategies for finding this out, and then ensuring there are processes for this knowledge to return to the group to be discussed, considered, and then use that to develop new problems. i suspect it's going to work really well with honours students who are committed to the subject and study and who, when you outline things to them, really are pretty tired of being told what to think.
my task is four references that are commentaries on deleuze.
1. use keywords and other forms of metadata to add to your notes. you can define these attributes yourself.
2. this lets you pull out content as you define your needs by using agents. for example: my recent comments on teaching have a subject code in the keyword attribute. at the end of my semester i'll write an agent that collects and sorts notes with that keyword and i've got pretty much most of the process documentation i need for what did and didn't work in my teaching. i do the same for project management.
3. don't think of it as a knowledge management tool. to me knowledge management implies structures and contexts that you already know about (that this note should live here, that it should be this colour, etc). i'm learning to think of it as a knowledge making tool. my notes are more like an information soup (i need aliteration there don't i? how about, ummm... semantic swamp? nah. but by soup i really mean how apple's newton works where all the content is just in a soup and context agents pull out and join up bits on your behalf, still the world's best pda...). so, a soup. so my categories are handy but just pragmatic for publication (they have to be put somewhere). but my agents do most of the real work. it's the agents that turn the soup into knowledge by drawing out content clusters for me. and the agents need context 'engines' in the notes, which is where things like keywords become importnt.
4. because agents create content clusters (hey, contextual content clusters!) dynamically serendipity and stochasticism (my two favourite processes for knowledge creation) should not be overlooked.
5. if you build complex templates for publishing document what they do so that you can rebuild and reuse if you need to.
6. keywords do not need to be stable. use an agent to find stuff you need (perhaps based on content), then use the quick stamp window to give them all a new keyword that's relevant.
7. mark's rule. use the find text or locate space dialog so that you can easily connect stuff to other stuff. it's obvious but like much that is obvious easily overlooked. for example i mention mark's rule, i go command + f, type in rules, and in the dialog box it shows me the entry i want. since tinderbox lets me link directly into the find dialog window thingo i can just link from my nominated text to the note listed in the find window.
8. contra. mark's rule. make links for you, not your readers. if you're using this to build knowledge then build the knowledge webs you need. yes tinderbox can find all this for you if you ask it, but think of these links as mnemonic pointers for you. (which is why you link regularly into the recent present but generally more rarely into the distant present). the rest takes care of itself.
9. use the personal voice. i mean personal voices. don't try and write like it's for your teacher or mother. write some bits as if they were for your teacher, other bits for your uncle, other bits just for you. we all have lots of 'styles' and 'voices'. let 'em out.
10. because in the decimalised world we live in there should always be ten....
have added three or four sites to the interactive cinema bit of this site. they're all software tools that offer basic editing but also some form of 'multimedia' or 'web' tools as well.
it's interesting how many consumer level products are beginning to appear that are beginning to offer simple sprite access. this is a very good thing. vivé la revolution! :-)
video editing come basic interactive editing/authoring tool. seems to support simple button stuff.
new product in beta development that is a mac based video editor but also supports a basic set of sprite actions. might be a good intermediate level tool to use for student work.
java detection qt
an interactive multimedia authoring system that runs on various platforms, including os x. there's a 30 day demo available. by the pr on the site looks like it's about ease of use and interactivity around a core set of themes (quizzes and presenting stuff).
Mitchell, W.J.T., Christine Wiesenthal, and Brad Bucknell. "Essays into the Imagetext: An Interview with W.J.T. Mitchell." Mosaic 33.2 (2000). which is available online (but i don't seem to have the url and i'm not online at the moment... google google google...) is a wonderful interview. mitchell ranges over his writings, has exciting comments about teaching, and ends with a question that i think may become a maxim for me:
jeremy has put together all the work submitted for his palindrome project. and they live here. my vog made it, just in time, i'll also mirror it on the vog site.
Tofts, Darren. "Opaque Melodies That Would Bug Most People - a Short History of Dislocation in Six Tracks." Senses of Cinema 1.18 (2001). a wonderful essay that continues darren's interest and efforts to think about 'new media' forms as co-evolutionary with other aesthetic practices rather than paradigmatic breaks. the general ideas of dislocation (to re-locate and dis-locate) which is to relocate things in new contexts. a sort of collage practice.
this is nice. and is something i've been thinking about quite a bit in relation to vogging and some other recent work where it is increasingly plain that collage (+montage) is our mode of work in new media, and is the mode of new media. and i agree with darren where time remains the great unthought in this. it's all space space space.
9.3 opaque melodies
well, second tute. worked much better. had them into small groups after they answered the question "what is a computer screen?" and i got them talking about what things they were thinking about in their answers. much less abstract than tuesday's possums. they obviously had plenty to say and there were lively discussions going on. i got each group to report back, wrote it down, then we discussed each item. it did become a bit of lecture around then, but it didn't go too bad. closure was a problem. i wanted them to go and find out something from somewhere else that would help them answer the question in relation to hypertext. (nah, see the problem, i can't even simply write down what i asked them to do!!)
after the class discussion i wanted them to think about the sorts of qualities we described and that if hypertext was a screen based reading and writing what might the implications of what we discussed have for hypertext. no one had any ideas, and that's because the problem is too abstract. but also because i asked a tute of 25 (which is too many but that's another story).
should've got them in groups again to answer the problem and report back. to talk direct to the teacher is to repeat/reinforce the whole one way knowledge thing which of course makes silence easy, and essential since it just becomes power (i know, you don't, and the teacher wonders why no one volunteers??). so next week, we try plan b. and tomorrow, i work out wht plan b might be....
8.3 tute 2
digital artist based in the art college in bergen (bergen kunsthøgskolen) who is a friend of mine. he has the sort of work space that, well, envy is too weak a word ("the view", he murmurs, "the view...").
my work has just been included in the irish museum of modern art's first ever net.art exhibition. :-)
i'm working to a deadline to finish a vog that i made in response to an invitation sent out by jeremy welsh. jeremy's an artist in bergen and he realised that feb. 20 this year was the only palindromic date this century - 20.02.2002 (you have to be not from the u.s. for this to work). he invited work that documented some event on this day and he's putting it together for an exhibition.
anyway, i filmed my kids (as you do) and then i cut a 2002 frame segment (that's 100.1 seconds). i was going to export this at 20 frames per second so the 2002 frames becomes 100 seconds 2 frames. i compressed the video as usual, sliced it up into 9, as usual. but then it got tricky. i wanted the quicktime to run for 20 minutes 02 seconds to get the other bit of the palindrome in (the frames is the 2002 but i wanted the rest of the full date in the work).
now i know that in quicktime player if i stretched my 2 minutes of video to 20 minutes it would make no difference to the final file size, unlike a video editing program. quicktime just knows to hold a frame for however long you tell it to, rather than redrawing the thing 20 times a second. so i grabbed a cd, imported some tracks into quicktime till i had 25 minutes of random audio. cut that back to 20 minutes 02 seconds. then i just selected my 2 minutes of video, moved to the soundtrack, selected all, add scale and pasted in my 2 minutes. voilá, delete the audio track and i'm left with a movie that was 2 minutes, now runs for 20, and is still 230Kb in size. quicktime is the work of heaven. (as kiwi's say of rugby.)
reminds me, my birthday is sept. 19 and in 1991 i had a palindromic birthday: 19-9-1991. i was rather chuffed that day because of the fact. bit of a worry why i'd notice...
had my first computer lab and tute in this years iteration of my hypertext theory and practice subject. i seem to have gone through quite a seachange in how i want to think about teaching over the last few months and i'm trying to become more focussed on process and problem based learning.
it's hard. and since i haven't found somewhere for some professional development around it decidely adhoc. i've got the second tute thursday, which should have more sense to it, but its not a good look to have the first tutorial group becoming the test-bed-guinea-pigs for the second tute group!
i asked them to write down two things in response to the question: what is a computer screen? then i got them into small groups to think and talk about what sorts of things they were thinking about when answering the question. each group reported, we made a list, and started thinking about what terms they had. aesthetics seemed to be a strong theme which i found attractive (notice the problem already, i found it attractive, i didn't ask them, i decided). so we pursued it. i asked them what they thought the aesthetics of the screen might be. we tossed around ideas for a while, an open quite lateral and creative type of discussion, but there was something i wanted them to get to about the volatility of the screen and so that's where we went. at the end i asked everyone to write down a third answer to the question, and to think about what the differences might be between their first 2 questions and their last one.
next time i need to stop. and simply ask them how should we find out about what the aesthetics of the screen might be. that's it. ask them. the difference is enormous. we can discuss strategies for answering, and when they walk out of the tute they actually have something to do and think about for next week, rather than having received my no doubt brilliant wisdom about screen aesthetics but not actually having to engage with anything until they sit down for more wisdom next week. the problem i have is the desire to get to x and to 'teach' y by the end. but as i know in my own bloody practice, it's the getting there that's more fun!
6.3 tute 1
this is off the livestage pro discussion list. it's a nice description of not only why quicktime is important and clever but of how we need to think about 'content' and 'context' in networked environments.
A media company wants to publish an Interactive video/media project, images to its Web site, and a pdf for print. .swf is not sufficient for all three. You might have files in JPEG, PNG, GIF, PSD, Targa etc. You must at the very least change the format to play as .swf. With QuickTime, you don't. These files can be placed on a server in their original format and read natively by an interactive QT project, put onto a web page, or published to a pdf. The same cannot be said about Flash, RP, or WMP.
5.3 qt because
is a site that provides basic info. about different codecs. primary focus is online delivery. it's a standard test at a common datarate for each codec with a listing of file sizes...
first day back teaching and first day of the beginnings of the process based teaching curriculum. in my first lecture i had students writing, collating, and summarising for me and what they produced in response to 3 simple questions became the basis for my lecture. as i explained to them afterwards. they can set an agenda, and they do have good enough questions and problems. my task is to facilitate this. but it's going to be quite hard to work out how to structure each learning event in a way that is productive like this and not slip into the instructional drone. (i'm quite an engaged teacher but last year when my 5 year old sat in on a lecture i gave off my notes her groan when i said, "just one more thing" told me all i needed to know.) not a yawn in sight.
pity the weather outside is so glorious.
4.3 back to skewl
torill has had a good natured observation about the irregular updates here. as she observes it isn't the regularity of the writing, its the irregularity of the posts that is a problem.
one reason was just that tinderbox had knotted up some templates so publishing just didn't work. and it took me a long time to find time to fix that (took about 2 hours).
but i guess i don't see this space as one for my readers. sorry. (well, not quite, but i think reading communities form as an emergent thing online.) it's where i can write in a way that is productive for thinking. if readers come along, fine. doesn't mean i don't write for an assumed/presumed/ideal reader, i do. but it's my thinking space and my record of this.
so when i read mark's suggestions on rules for blogging and his comments on torill's observations i don't see what the issues are. if that's what a blog is supposed to be then fine, this isn't a blog. but i write this in tinderbox and while i use tinderbox to export this into html it's actually the space where i keep urls, write notes, think out loud (because writing for the presumed reader means i have to be less cryptic than if i were leaving postit notes for myself so ideas find shape because they have to have some decency of clarity to them), and i am not going to recognise generic distinctions (which i think are a danger in blogging anyway).
(i think i'm enough of a structuralist to be aware of the value of generic categories but also the inadequacy of any generic definition to define its constituents. i'm also a good enough semiotician to recognise that saussure's distinction between langue and parole - which is often used to describe genre and its members - means that definitions miss the point.)
so if a post ends up being 1000 words, it does. if i also use this to maintain directories (such as this one on hypertext theory) then i do. i don't want regularity of posts, scale of posts, degree of interlinking, quality of writing (or not), or any other exercise in soliciting readers to be what this is about. if i want to do that i'll take up journalism or some other professional form of writing and syndicate a column. (in fact the manner in which blog communities currently operate is largely on a traditional system of syndication, which is something jill's been thinking about).
a blog for me is grounded in the quotidian. for me as a computer sorta academic that includes computer crashes, lack of a network, other demands, etc. (for instance in writing this note tinderbox has just decided to move all my links to somewhere else. it's time to go home. do i fix this or just publish this and be damned?) a blog's an open field of writing and so variable.
which i guess begs the question of why i put this into html rather than leave it in tinderbox? simple. these ideas have currency and for that currency to work they must be placed in circulation, of some sort. secondly the act of the assumed/imagined/ideal reader must be made literal for this particular writer by publishing the work.
3.3 in trouble
a pet hate in osx is the bouncing icons in the dock. if email arrives in eudora it bounces there and simply doesn't until you open the app and click on the you have mail window. duh. but this little hack turns the buggers right off. you can find it at http://www.unsanity.com/haxies.php where there is a minor trove of hacks.
3.3 pet hate