All posts by SoundingBoard

Nugget 4: Computer Lib/ Dream Machine

“Compulsory interaction, whether with a talking machine or a
stereotyped human, is itself a put-down or condescension.
(Note that on superhighways there is often a line of cars
behind the automatic toll booths, even when the manned
ones are open.) Moreover, faked interaction can be an
annoyance. (Consider the green light at the automatic toll
booth that lights up with a “thank you.”) Moreover, dialogue
by simple systems tends to have a fake quality. It is by no
means obvious that phony dialogue with a machine will
please the student.”

Feel like an American?
As someone who has not always been computer literate, this spoke to me directly. Being forced to engage with a machine that one does not understand, and being told by one’s teachers that “it’s very simple” becomes grating after a while. Nelson talks about designing media and computers for the future, and I think that is the right attitude. Bespoke technology is the ideal for which we reach, making a machine that works with as little training as possible for any person. However, it is important to remember that condescension is ingrained in our education system, as Nelson points out multiple times. I would submit that condescension has no place in the classroom of tomorrow, therefore in agreement with Nelson.


It is time for a classroom that doesn’t pander to children or make them feel inferior because they aren’t proficient in some subjects. It is time for computers and media to find a new place in the education system! Let us foster creativity and imagination, not stifle it as we are currently.

lab6photo Students_in_a_computer_lab

Inquiry Project Proposal

Panel judges, I have come to speak to you about a subject which should not be unfamiliar to any who read this. I have come to speak about a service that people use every day, some times multiple times per day. What am I talking about? Netflix.


Netflix is one of the largest streaming-media websites based in the United States. It caused the end of the VHS and DVD rental giant Blockbuster, and has influenced a wave of change for services like HBOGO, expanding their business of movies and TV to the internet. It would be fair to say that the introduction of Netflix changed the way Americans consume media, not to mention that Netflix is offered in a plethora of other nations.


Not only is Netflix a media giant of the internet, it boasts expansive earnings each year, with a greater base of customers and a higher stock price. It may be a simple media-streaming service, but Netflix seems to be at the forefront of media. And I almost forgot: they produce original content like shows and movies, one of which was nominated for an Academy Award. Another of their productions, House of Cards, has received over 10 nominations for the Golden Globes and Emmy Awards, winning a Golden Globe.

academy-awards-filmstrip-logo golden-globes-award-trophy-2013

I wish to submit my proposal for the research of Netflix and their effect on media. Specifically, “How has Netflix changed the way media is produced and consumed?” I feel that as a consumer of media, much like many of those who may read this, it is an interesting question to answer.

Progress Report/ Research Reflection

Over the past week, we have explored the importance of new media, and the progression of society’s view on the subject for the past 50 years. It was in this discussion of man-computer symbiosis that I discovered a topic that interested me. In a previous post, I explored the thought progression of Netflix to The Pirate Bay, and found that a good topic to explore would be the interchangeable use of the two services, and why a paid service does as well as a free service. It was another post, one by mcandersonaj, that I realized I should do something that interests me, but also a topic of which I have a deep knowledge.


In an earlier post, we explored a web of interests to inspire a narrowing view, in service to the inquiry project. It was here that I unfolded a number of topics that intrigued me, and a variety with potential research applications. However, it was not until I read a post on MJ’s Blog that I realized the importance of social and new media to our inquiries. I have settled on Netflix, as it is a major hub of the new media trend. How it will unfold into an inquiry project, I am still unsure.

Reflective Writing for Concept Experience 2: Right vs. Left



In Licklider’s paper, he discusses a language barrier between humanity and computers that must be overcome. My search for Wikipedia pages was aided by the website, translating its base language into something I could see and understand. The source code for the internet is indecipherable for many, but learning to code in HTML, Java, and other such languages bridge the gap between our understanding of each other.

It was this need for translation, this barrier to clear communication, that lead me to understand my thought process as a battle between the left and right brain. One logical, one emotional. One calculating my next move, one enjoying the moment. When I started, I was driven by the left, searching for a logical path that I might follow to best achieve my ends. But as soon as Hulu came up, the right brain kicked in, searching for my favorite TV show put out by Hulu. And then the left came back, thinking politically and strategically, analyzing which link I would need to click to come to my designed end. Alas, the right took over once more as soon as I saw The Pirate Bay link, my inner deviant seeking that former home away from home. As Licklider might put it, I originally intended to engage in formulated thinking, soon digressing into formulative, and back and forth.

The exercise allowed me to engage in planning and free thinking at the same time. It’s important to flex one’s logical and imaginative mind on a regular basis!

The Shins – Saint Simon

Concept Experience 2: A dark and sordid adventure

After thinking about our mandate, and how we are meant to relate things back to new media, I decided to start with Netflix, and went from there…


First page: Netflix

I started out with Netflix, as they have been innovators in the industry of online streaming media.


Second page: Streaming Media

I clicked on streaming media in order to branch off onto different providers for the similar services.

Third page: Google TV

Google TV is a way to easily access all these disparate providers and their content through your computer, smart TV, etc. Media is consumed at such a rate that all these different services have been brought together, in an easy-to-navigate menu.


Fourth page: Hulu

This lead me to one of said services, Hulu. As a provider of ongoing television series for mobile, computer, and TV users, Hulu is capitalizing on a market of viewers that still want to watch their favorite shows, but simply don’t always have the time. This provides competition to services like HBO GO, which streams content live as it premieres on HBO.


Fifth page: Battleground (TV Series)

This thought process got me thinking about Original Content (OC) created by Netflix and Hulu. This path ended at Battleground, the first show ever produced by Hulu. It follows a Senate campaign, which got me thinking about intellectual property and how the government is trying to protect it.

Sixth Page:United States Senate

I ended up on the Senate’s page, looking for the 113th Congress.

Seventh page: 113th United States Congress

I was looking for a specific piece of legislation, one pertaining to control of the internet and defense of intellectual property rights.

congress seal

Eighth page: Stop Online Piracy Act

SOPA is a piece of legislation that has been considered by Congress multiple times, each iteration being defeated in committee. It would constrain content on the internet, essentially robbing users of their freedom to browse anywhere they like. Also, crack down hard on torrenting, a way of sharing content among users of such websites as…


Ninth Page: The Pirate Bay

In the cited links, there it sat. The Pirate Bay (tpb) is the worlds most popular website for torrents, and it has become the poster-child of a movement to keep governments out of internet regulation. The importance of visiting tpb was to find a torrent for a show I hadn’t seen in a long time.


Tenth Page: Torrent for Pilot of Battleground

And this helped me think about what I wanted to write about. The number of Netflix users who also torrent shows is a high number, according to some less than reliable forum posts. Even if the trolls are trying to get a rise out of me, I would like to explore the gap between Netflix and The Pirate Bay. Why do so many people pay for content when it is available for free, and only when it is not available on a streaming site do they turn to illegal means?

Her Challenge to Us and Reflective Writing Prompt

The Challenge: Find a topic that you cannot explore in the context of new media/digital media

My Answer: Watergate. Oh wait, there are message boards on history websites that still discuss the scandal. What about Agent Orange? Darn it, you could argue that Agent Orange had a lasting effect on feelings toward chemical weapons, which we are dealing with. The Syrian War, a conflict deeply entrenched in social media and digital media, has dealt with chemical weapons recently.

My point being this, the internet has spawned an unprecedented number of blogs, forums, and websites devoted to obscure topics that spawn to every interest, human or otherwise. To ask us to find a topic incapable of coverage is limiting our view of the internet, in my humble opinion.


As for my Reflective Writing Prompt:


ISIS Insurgents continue to take territory – Iraq was the center-point of our societal discourse for close to a decade, and it faded into the background like a shameful secret that the nation no longer wanted to acknowledge. But for all our faults in Iraq, we trained their military and helped rebuild their government. Even if this did not account for nearly enough of the damage we caused to this Middle Eastern Nation, it was a step in the right direction.


Now, the Iraqi military is bowing down to these insurgents from Syria and allowing them to seize military assets provided to the Iraqi military by the United States. Why has the Iraqi military not hardened its response to these assailants? Why are Iraqi soldiers surrendering their weapons instead of fighting? Who is Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, and what are his aims and the aims of his organization? Their is potential for further insight into this conflict, and I would like to explore it.


Netflix – A company that caused the destruction of the physical DVD rental industry through the internet is well worth exploration. For a service that many use every day, multiple times per day, Netflix has introduced a new way to deliver media to consumers, and it’s catching on. What caused Netflix’s success, and Blockbuster’s downfall? How has it blazed a path for other companies to join the online media service industry? And now that Netflix is producing its own content, how will HBO and Showtime respond?


Week 1 Reflective Writing/ Progress Report

Topics of my own:

Trends – SOPA – How will government regulation of the internet effect web-based communities?

Trends – Escalation of the protests in Brazil – How has the news media portrayed the protesters and their plight?

Trends – ISIS Insurgents continue to take territory – How is ISIS and its mandate portrayed online and in the news media?

Gender – $0.70 to $1.00 – How is gender inequality in pay discussed in a forum like Reddit or 4chan?

Controversies – The Golden Dawn – How was the internet utilized by Greek Fascists to spread their ideals?

Controversies – Eric Cantor losing his primary in Virginia’s 7th – How has the first ever defeat of a majority leader of the House of Representatives effected coverage of the coming election?

Controversies – Wait times at VA Hospitals – How can the VA’s digital infrastructure be improved through new media to address their issues with processing requests?

Places – Guangzhou – How have the Uighurs utilized new media to assist in their battle against the Chinese government?

Places – Hong Kong – What has new media done to increase the economic activity centered in Hong Kong’s tariff-free zone?

Desires – Research Grant for the study of environmental degradation in China’s Yangtze River – How has the Chinese government’s strict control over social media and the news media constrained coverage of, and by extension possible creation of a solution for, the pollution of the Yangtze river?


From Others:

What’s for Dinher – Trends – Netflix – What has Netflix done to bring other media groups into the digital age?

What’s for Dinher – Controversies – Healthcare – How has the roll out of the exchange websites altered perceptions about the Affordable Care Act and about healthcare at-large?

What’s for Dinher – Places – Library – How has the internet and social media spelled the death of physical format texts, and brought about the e-book?

What’s for Dinher – Fears – Losing Friends – What has social media done to the meaning of friendship in our nation?

Brooke’s Blog – Trends – Vine – How has the introduction of short-form entertainment through videos changed the way people engage with social media?

Brooke’s Blog – Controversies – Single Parent Households – How have community websites for single parents and their children ease the weight of raising children alone?

MJ’s Blog – Controversies – Death Penalty – Since the introduction of new media, which could stretch back to the advent of broadcast news, how has the view of America changed in relation to the death penalty?

farhisr – Trends – Xbox One/PS4 – How has the console war been portrayed by gaming websites and the news media?

farhisr – TV/Movies/Music/books – How I Met Your Mother – How did a show, lasting nine seasons, leave it’s imprint on new media? How did it’s cast leave an imprint on social media?

Blog de Max – Habits – Smoking – How has smoking been portrayed in film and television in recent years? What caused smoking to be phased out of media as ‘cool’?


I don’t really care if I receive credit for this assignment. It was just really fun!

Nugget 2: Man-Computer Symbiosis

“Throughout the period I examined, in short, my “thinking” time was devoted mainly to activities that were essentially clerical or mechanical: searching, calculating, plotting, transforming, determining the logical or dynamic consequences of a set of assumptions or hypotheses, preparing the way for a decision or an insight. Moreover, my choices of what to attempt and what not to attempt were determined to an embarrassingly great extent by considerations of clerical feasibility, not intellectual capability.” – J.C.R. Licklider

Licklider states early on that the intention of man-computer symbiosis is eventually to have the computer take over reasoning in real time, dismissing any doubt brought on by a slower, human mind. However, he admits that in his experimentation he erred, and gave consideration to only those things clerical in nature. These processes can be more reliably and quickly done by machines. He even goes on to mention that this will be one of the duties placed on machines in our future relations. I take no issue with this, but his assumption is incomplete. What of the processes that can only be completed by man? A computer is smart, but it is no philosopher. Some of the brilliance of humanity can be found in accepting that which we cannot yet prove, or understand. A computer can write and calculate a formula far faster than a human, but it cannot tell me the reason for existence, or about the sensation of perception. Until such a day, I think we would be wise to mind the distinction between the duties of a man and those of a machine.



Brainstorming for Inquiry Project

Stream of conscience has never been my strong suit. Just wanted to let folks know before they read a potentially chaotic mess.


Habits: Sleep on the left side of the bed, take the case off to charge my phone, dish towel always on the oven handle, look to see which earbud goes in which ear, write a list for the store, pace in the kitchen when I cook, sing in the kitchen when I cook, browse the internet when I’m bored, snacks with movies, watch HIMYM when I’m depressed, listen to the sound of rain when I need to think, realize things all to late, pat my pockets to make sure I still have: wallet, phone, keys. Finally, my phone is always on the left of my computer at home; even after crazy nights, it’s there.


Trends: tattoos people will regret in 5 years, SOPA, PIPA, Escalation of the conflict in Syria, Escalation of protests against the world cup in Brazil, Reduction of armed forces in Afghanistan slowed, Shift of naval power to the Pacific, Radical political candidates continue to replace their moderate counterparts, The ISIS Insurgents in Iraq continue to take territory, Sweeping social reform will continue to be slow as all hell, Coastline erosion in Louisiana gets worse each year, The rich get richer every year, Campaign finance reform far from reach, Wildfires likely to worsen in coming months, The clash between honest, decent people and assholes progresses as usual




Gender: Male, Female, Bi-sexual, Transsexual, Social identity, Gay, Straight, Stupid debates about rights that we shouldn’t be having right now, Stupid debates about rights that never should have happened, $0.70 to $1, Income inequality, social inequality, Societal gender roles, Outdated gender roles, Ignorant people hating others for no good reason

Controversies: Watergate, Benghazi, CIA, Edward Snowden, NSA, Newtown, Focused media attention, Agent Orange, Napalm, Brazil hosting the World Cup in its current economic climate, The Golden Dawn, Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Eric Cantor losing Virginia’s 7th District Primary, Failure of the War on Drugs, Wikileaks, Julian Assange, The Department of Veterans Affairs, Wait-times at VA Hospitals



Places or Spaces: Richmond, VCU, Italy, Sicily, Napoli, Tuscany, China, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Japan, Tokyo, Kyoto, The Senate Chamber, The White House, Postbellum, Baja, Tobacco Company, City Dogs, Arlington,  Home

Fears: Death, Loss, Love, Denial of human rights, Denial of social rights, Torture, Letting the nation fall into the hands of a bunch of nut-bags, Not being able to find a job after school, Not getting into grad school, Zombie apocalypse, Robot apocalypse, Cheek-pinching by the elderly, Getting stranded on a desert island with the world’s greatest despots with no food (we would probably eat Kim Jong Un first), HBO cancels Game of Thrones, Come home and all my beer is gone


Things that restore my faith in humanity: Tesla making several of their patents public to advance electric car technology, World Cup patrons helping protesters, Eric Cantor lost his primary, Fewer candidates for Congress seem asinine this year, Obama is using executive orders to route the inefficiency of Congress, Colorado is putting much of the tax revenue generated from marijuana sales into schools and social programs, States continue to legalize unions between gay or lesbian couples, Ontario has just elected the first LGBTQ premier in Canadian history, Rob Ford was stripped of his powers as Mayor before any real harm could be done, Rob Ford is once again running for Mayor of Toronto (persistent, I’ll give him that), Congress is more diverse in gender and race than ever before, Corruption by former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is being dealt with and not simply ignored, Republicans are starting to see the negative effects of imprisoning minor-drug offenders for long periods, Soon lethal injections will no longer be an option for the death penalty, That cute barista got my order right this morning!

Desires: Pleasure, sex, alcohol, a perfect political system, campaign finance reform, a larger budget for prosecution of corporations, An end to gridlock in Congress, An end to bureaucratic red tape, Research grant for the study of environmental degradation in China’s Yangtze river, Research grant for the study of Italy’s cultural history by region, Research grant to study the effects of long-term exposure to radical conservative ideals and radical liberal ideals, An MPA, Standardization of charging ports for phones to the micro-USB, Bio-mechanical implants to heighten senses, strength, endurance, you name it. A work program for former convicts that would keep them employed and out of the situations that first caused their imprisonment, and of course, for all my favorite TV shows to never have been cancelled or ended.


Associative Trails

history 1

My thought process has no rhyme or reason to it when I’m on the internet. I’ll be browsing some site, looking at a funny picture of a cat sneezing or some meme about how popular my unpopular opinion really is, and find myself in the mood to read the news. And there I go, off to the BBC, the Economist, Al Jazeera, and other sources of recurring depression.



With knowledge of yesterday’s events, I turn to my assignments for class, or at least try to. Oh look, some crazy .gif that makes me want to get on reddit and buzzfeed.

The only trend I see in my history is that I can’t focus when there is so much to see and do on the internet! I associate by opposites, seeking out the light-hearted and silly when I’m depressed, seeking honesty and knowledge when my spirits are high. I like to find myself balanced, more than likely to my detriment.