October 27, 2007

It’s important to remember that America is a democratic republic. It is not a democracy, it is not a government ruled by large corporations. In this issue of broadband access for the American people, all sides are trying to obfuscate that fact. The corporations, as evidenced in the “Understanding Net Neutrality” video, seem to believe that they can control the internet because they rule the government. I would suggest a better way. The way of the democratic republic.

The way where the people speak to the elected representatives, and then the elected representatives make the legislation. They should create legislation about this issue, just like they legislate on every other issue. This webpronews article gives a fantastic example of exactly what needs to be happening here. All people should have equal access to the elected officials. The big corporations and the people of America can both speak with those that they elected in order to have their thoughts heard. In the end, it comes down the decision of those elected officials.

The swift-changing value of paper

October 25, 2007

One of Derrida’s main points is the paradox of paper-how valued it is, and yet how useless. He talks about the difference between paper currency and toilet paper, and how quickly paper can change. In one instant, paper is a newspaper, holding all the news of our society, and in the next that newspaper is being used as toilet paper. He is arguing the paradox of paper. Then he talks about the paradox of ruining virgin paper-how we like the clean white sheet of paper, but we love to fill paper with writing, and we glorify paper that is filled with “blood, sweat, and ink.” Lastly, he talks about the anxiety we feel from a blank sheet of paper-how we feel the need to fill it up with writing, and yet at the same time we don’t want to mar the purity of it.

In this way, Derrida is trying to explain and understand paper by arguing both sides, the paradoxes of paper.

I don’t understand about the double binding of paper, about writing on both sides, about double inscription on paper, those things. I don’t understand him comparing paper to skin, and talking about paper as skin (p. 52). What is the graphosphere? I felt like I understood much of Derrida’s main point, but I am lost in many of his side points and analogies. I read to page 57 in the one hour.

At least I understood about The Arabian Nights

October 18, 2007

As is probably evidenced by the title, Foucalt is searching for what an author is. Throughout the reading, he explores how to tell if multiple works are written by the same author, the difference between the author, the writer, and the narrator, and lastly he talks about authors whose works affects other authors in huge ways. The biggest thing that kept showing up to me was the idea of a work, a body of work that encompasses much of what an author has to say on a topic. I would say that his main point is that the concept of the author is tough to pinpoint, but that the concept of the author is vital to our society, whatever it might mean.

I was specifically confused when he was talking about the effect of the author’s name-I didn’t really understand what it had to do with the rest of the work (p. 107).  Also, I need some clarification on his idea of a discourse, and the relationship between an author and the author’s discourse (a consistent theme near the end, mostly from p. 116 on).

Overall, I found the article to be more understand than Derrida. It felt like this was just beyond my grasp, but with a little explanation I could grasp it.

October 16, 2007

The underlying argument that no one is willing to verbalize is that everyone wants to decide who deserves the money, and where the money is going to end up. In the Stockphototalk article, which covers the Masterfile case, it is clearly presented that anything created by someone is their inherent property for as long as they wish. The Pachebel rant subtly disagrees with this, by making the inherent argument that all music builds on previous music, and is better for this inheritance. Everyone writing about this subject wants to determine who should make the most money off intellectual inventions. Whether it be the people inheriting the copyright after the person dies, or the people who inherit the intellectual profit and use it to make money.

It seems to me that the issue is whether or not those who get rich should be able to pass on a legacy to those who come after, or if people should have to work for their own money. One side is saying that when someone makes a great piece of literature, their children should continue to get paid for it without doing any actual work themselves, as a lasting benefit for how much the piece of literature helped society. The other side says that once someone has made the great work and gotten their money for it, it should be passed on so that others can take it and make further great works that build upon it. One is a model of work and advancement for generations, the other is a model of coasting off the accomplishments of one generation.

A little too much love for freedom

October 1, 2007

As unbelievable as it may seem, there are alternatives to capitalism. The main thing that Andrew Keen didn’t seem to realize in “The Great Seduction” from The Cult of the Amateur was that capitalism isn’t the only way. His biggest assumption, throughout the whole article, was that the obstructions that Web 2.0 brought to capitalism were going to be catastrophic. As I read his article, I was overwhelmed by his overwhelming and underlying belief that anything that did not promote his preferred world view (capitalism) was bad for society.

Our trust in conventional advertising is being further compromised by the spoof advertisements proliferating on the internet.

Underlying this statement is Keen’s belief that advertising, as it is right now, is a good thing. He states this as if it is obvious, as if anyone can see that anything damaging to advertising must be evil. He then proceeds to discuss what he seems to think is the worst part of Web 2.0, which is that no one will make any money.

…the [extremely popular site] is only generating “beer money” for its founders. Guy Kawasaki, author of one of the fifty most popular blogs on the internet, whose pages were viewed almost two and a half million times in 2006, [earned] just $3,350.

Keen presents these facts as an atrocity, which only serves to prove that he is missing the point. The majority of these extremely popular bloggers are not doing it to become fabulously rich. It is good, and even right, that people should do things for society and not expect monetary compensation. To Keen, a society in which people do things that don’t earn them huge amounts of money is a society gone amok, because it doesn’t support his narrow-minded view that capitalism is the only way.

Searching out bad copy wherever it may lurk…

September 28, 2007

After several hours spent trying to find a Wikipedia topic that I could suitably edit, I stumbled upon the Wiki for my old high school, Arrowhead Christian Academy. I spent a lot of time in high school copy-editing the yearbook, and I figured the school Wiki could use a good edit, as well. The number of copy errors was astounding, and I had a wonderful time revisiting my past and fixing everything I could with the school’s page. I had no problems with any part of the editing system, and actually added several links to the site.

Pure democracy fails

September 20, 2007

There is an overarching theme from much of what we have read, and it seems to be that pure democracy is much better than democracy blended with any sort of Republic. In Assignment Zero, the editors had a good idea-to create news by utilizing the masses, instead of just targeting them. By failing to place enough guidelines, and in my view swinging too far to the side of democracy, the creators reduced their project’s success.

The net effect was to put the organizational onus on the volunteers themselves. Baffled by the overarching concept of crowdsourcing, confused by the design of the website and unable to connect directly to a manager or organizer, most of the initial volunteers simply drifted away. “What we learned,” says Rosen, “is that you have to be waaaay clearer in what you ask contributors to do. Just because they show up once doesn’t mean they’ll show up over and over. You have to engage them right away.”

This demonstrates that people need guidelines. People need authority. There can’t just be a group of equals, all trying to decide what should be done. Someone has to be in charge, and someone has to be instructing others. I feel that this is a fairly pervasive feeling in lots of these “new technology” projects that we study. Many people feel disillusioned with the democratic republic of America, and feel that the problem lies in politicians. Their solution is to eliminate the politicians, and the republic side of the democracy. This kind of disillusionment influences all of their thinking, and that’s why they’re pursuing projects that focus on pure democracy. In seeking a solution to the failings of our country, we must realize that straight democracy is not the solution.

A dark day.

September 18, 2007

http://www.dragonmount.com/RobertJordan/

A great man has passed away today. This is truly a sad time. My condolences go out to all his loved ones. He had a huge impact on my life and my writing.

Dictator’s extradition seen as dubious in the legal community

September 6, 2007

Manuel Noriaga is in “triple jeopardy.” Three different countries are eager to try him, in order to determine his guilt for crimes within their borders. Noriaga, a former Panamanian dictator, is saying that he is a prisoner of war in America, and therefore shipping him off to other countries to be tried for other crimes violates the Geneva Convention. The CNN article was much more concerned with how everyone felt about Noriega’s extradition. The contrasting International Law Reporter blog was understandably much more concerned with the legal implications of the case, as well as the dictator’s legal options. Both were sure that he would be sticking around in America for quite some time, but it seemed to be for different reasons. CNN thought there would be a delay in the current trial, but that he would then be extradited. The legal standpoint seemed convinced that Noriega had many lawful appeals left, and that he would be spending a great deal more time here in the US before any final decision was made. I definitively preferred the law blog, I felt that it was a subject within their area of expertise, and they were therefore a lot more likely to be correct in their estimations of the convicts’ fate.

Back in my day, everyone watched movies

August 30, 2007

At this point in time, movies have been eclipsed by video games. Games do so many things that movies can’t, and the growing games industry proves it. People want media that they can interact with. Everyone would rather experience a world than just see that world, and that is where video games pull people in. They are simulations, demonstrations, experiences. People want to be as close to their art as possible, as discussed in the topics of remediation and immediacy. While reading through my normal gaming posts, I found one that demonstrates this perfectly here.

“I can’t help but be amazed at how far video games have come in the past decade. And with that in mind, I’m left wondering why the New Release rack at Blockbuster is still filled with 90 percent garbage. For a business that relies on entertaining people, the movie industry really needs to take some pages out of the video game play book. Video games have become the most entertaining form of enjoyment. Period. Think back to some of the new movies you’ve watched in the past few years and tell me how many of these justified the two hours you wasted watching it. Chances are, that number will be quite low when compared to the number of great games you’ve played in the last year. Of course, the reason for this is quite simple: The movie industry has become monolithic and its very business model has become derivative and outdated. There is very little drive for anyone to make a unique and extremely exciting movie anymore because producers know that many of us will go out and watch the garbage no matter how bad it is. On the other hand, video game developers–largely relegated to second-class by the Hollywood-types–have something to prove. And in the process of proving themselves, it’s the video game developers that are providing the real entertainment”

People are always looking for something new. TV had to adopt to the release of the internet, and now movies must adopt to the release of video games. Currently, the movie industry is trying to make this happen through extras on DVDs, that make the DVDs more interactive. This is a poor excuse for a video game, and the movie industry must adapt in order to catch up with the new form of media.