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Monday, May 08, 2006

My portfolio is late...

...but it is finished!!! It is the most recent post on my blog. Happy reading.

where's marissa's portfolio???

Hey everyone,
Just to let you know, you'll find the final version of my portfolio at:
Steve's Moonfruit site works a lot better than Xanga...thanks, Steve!

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Just a reminder that we're meeting at Shakespeare's at 2:00. See you there!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

slouching toward myspace?

Sadly this will be my last post on the 4040 blog. That said, I'll try to leave my fellow bloggers with something relevant to ponder....The Facebook Phenomenon

- Over 85% of U.S. college students have facebook accounts, and spend an average of 51 minutes per day on the site.

- 70% of students log-in at least once daily, in Fred Stutzman's words, a "major lifestyle committment".

Even as I compose this entry, a girl beside me and a girl behind me are both checking their accounts. Earlier today, in the A&S computer lab, I observed several people giving facebook top priority, foregoing email and surfing the site immediately after logging into their machine. Imagine if people took that 50 minutes per day to blog....and actually used some brain power. That's one thing I've never understood about Facebook. Why do people enjoy it so much??? I used to have an account, and I fail to see what could possibly provide a person with 50 minutes of enjoyment each day. The amount of mental stimulation resides somewhere to the right of a sedated parakeet. But seriously...

The majority of social networking that takes place is highly superficial, especially to those with friend lists that weigh in at a hefty 100+ friends. There's a key difference people fail to realize....just because you have a connection with another person in the network doesn't mean you're actively participating in the network (if that makes sense). If your friend list says you possess 138 friends, but you only talk to 10 of them with any frequency....most people aren't even acquaintances. Facebook has become just another way for others to determine my self-worth. If I don't have enough friends on my list, I've failed at socializing. Apparently.

The ever-increasing corporate presence on facebook has me a little skeptical. I thought the selling-point was its exclusivity to college students. Yet now facebook membership has been extended to high school students and select corporate sponsors (see the Inside Facebook link below for more info). I often find myself wondering if facebook is just a fad....but if myspace and other social networking sites are any indication, I'm afraid facebook is around for the long haul.

To learn more about the corporate side of Facebook:
Scoring a Hit with the Student Body

A Cool 25 Million

Read about Facebook developments as they occur at
Inside Facebook, a blog devoted entirely to the site.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

portfolio rough draft

Greetings fellow bloggers:
Since today is in-class peer review day, I'll save you the trouble of going to my blog to browse the items in my portfolio. Three things before you get started:

1. It may take a few seconds for the pictures and video in my posts to load, and every now and then you have to refresh the page to get them to load (for reasons unknown to me) be patient
2. Try not to copy the explanations of my posts too blatantly...I've had that problem before on the class blog...(you know, people using the ideas I've already posted to make their "own" godzilla posts).
3. Be sure to check out the final product....I'll be posting the web address later.

Exemplary Blog Entries

White Stripes
This is the post I'm the most proud of as a music blogger, and my second favorite post overall. It exemplifies how a music blogger combines commentary and various visual/auditory techniques to attract and hold the attention of his or her readers.

Analysis of Class Readings
Overall I believe this is my best post, at least from an academic standpoint. Since Donna mentioned this particular post in her blog, I've gained confidence in my ability to analyze and interpret scholarly blogging. This entry also highlights the network aspect of blogging we've discussed repeatedly throughout the semester. Information becomes transformed as it becomes interpreted by each individual. I offered an alternative to the views expressed in our readings, Donna commented on my analysis, and finally one of Donna's friends offered an alternative perspective that neither Donna or myself had considered.

This is another of my favorite music entries. It is similar to my White Stripes post in that I combine several different technological enhancements to create a pleasant experience for my readers. It's another point on the evolutionary scale of my blogging - not quite White Stripes caliber, but a marked improvement over my posts at the beginning of the semester.

Polyphonic Spree
While I chose this post for the same reasons as the Bjork and White Stripes posts, I do a better job of linking to relevant sources in this entry. Another difference is that I attempt to connect the music to blogging, making it somewhat relevant to my 4040 classmates, even if they aren't fond of this type of music. The objective of my blog is illustrated perfectly. I felt my blog would be successful if I could persuade one person to consider listening to a band they wouldn't normally consider. The ideal scenario was that the mp3 samples and videos would prove interesting enough for my fellow bloggers to comment on my blog, with their opinions of the music. Even though that didn't happen often, I learned how to use technological enhancements to make my blog more appealing.

Radiohead music vids
This post was another attempt at engaging my fellow bloggers. I thought if I related the video posts to blog technology, it would make my posts seem more relevant to the course. I didn't include a lot of commentary about content of the videos...and in retrospect, I probably should have. This post taught me that most people want some sort of summary/commentary before they decide to click a link, watch a video, listen to a song, etc.

Analyzing Morville
Here is another scholarly blog post, in the same vein as "Analysis of Class Readings". It shows how being part of a network helps a blogger understand what works in their theories, and what needs more work. More explanation later....


Steve's "It's my religion, not my lifestyle"
Explanation forthcoming....

Steve's "I don't really like this idea"
Explanation forthcoming....

Monday, May 01, 2006

I wasted so much time getting dowdified...oh, the anger!

What's with this university's history department? Earlier this semester, my reading assignment was David Horowitz's Radical Son. I can't stand to hear the man's name, much less read 408 pages of his insane ramblings. I guess I better not say anything further or 4040 will end up on his website of people and inanimate objects that have ruined his metaphorical Christmas, moved their bowels on his Cheerios, or both.

Just when you think books can't get more annoying, you're hit with Maureen Dowd's Are Men Necessary? At least the ramblings in Radical Son eventually got around to explaining Horowitz's downward spiral into insanity. Dowd's ramblings, on the other hand...I can't even describe how totally devoid of logic and/or intelligence her arguments(?) are...

Here are some thoughts that sum up my feelings toward Are Men Necessary?
"It would be one thing if Dowd were writing pure, straightforward polemic, ranting against the people she feels the need to rant against. But Dowd is pretending to cover cultural trends with journalistic accuracy, and it is this pretense that gives her arguments a shoddy feel."
-Katie Roiphe users:
"I wandered through 300 pages of random statistics, endless observations about the plight of unmarried women randomly mixed in with examples of stupid things men do, plus some political commentary thrown in for good measure."

"By the last 25 pages I gave up on finding any good overall theme."

"This is the exact kind of pseudo-intellectual crap that demeans the human brain."

"Dowd is famously lazy hence the nickname the "cut and paste columnist" but even by her lazy standards this is really a record. She takes one tired genralization wounded around gossip thickened with embittered personal experience add to battered ego (Yeah, we got it. We know you're hot Maureen)and ergo a book. If you get it for free, ok; if you have to pay move on to something of substance like Katha Pollit or Jamie Jamieson."

I apologize if anybody actually likes Maureen Dowd, but I had to rescue anybody that's thinking of reading this book. Has anybody read this book (other than myself), and if you have....what are your thoughts?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

ok, let's go retroactive

I was cruising through the readings from previous units, until a particular title caught my eye: Use the blog, Luke. Damn those writers at sure do know how to reel in nerdy bloggers such as myself. I have a few questions for Steven Johnson, the author of this article.

"There are significant political consequences to the Blogger Effect: Because the blogging community contains a disproportionate number of libertarians, it's possible that Google searches on certain hot-button issues will start skewing toward libertarian-friendly pages. Given Google's increasing prominence, this libertarian slant could prove to be more significant than the more familiar concerns about liberal bias in the major networks, and conservative bias on Fox News. No sensible person thinks "The O'Reilly Factor" is free of political slant (save O'Reilly himself). But the great oracle of Google is supposed to be above such partisan concerns."

What information is he using to back up statements like this? I think some source about the prominence of libertarian blogs needs to be cited. I'd even settle for a screen capture of his Google search. Or is this his own opinion? If that's the case, I respectfully least until I see some valid research to back it up.

And who said the "great oracle of Google" is supposed to be above partisan concerns? As far as I know, Google has never claimed to be a non-partisan's a search engine, for Christ's sake. I think Johnson is complaining that political bloggers are engaged in some sort of link war for supremacy...but there's no feasible way to regulate or control the deluge of information without some selective exclusion.

Johnson's solution to the problem: " transform the data generated by the bloggers into something that rivals what Google does -- to extract some new kind of collective wisdom out of a universe of armchair opinion leaders." This is my problem with Johnson...he has a lot of big ideas, but offers no feasible methods of implementation. Which goes back to my point...a specific search engine can't extract collective wisdom, because a search engine functions by calculating links and's the responsibility of the individual to filter the information on their own.

Here's an example of one solution Johnson comes up with: "You define a few "guardian" Bloggers, perhaps by checking a box when you visit their site. You also instruct your software to watch the activity on sites maintained by "friends" of those key bloggers. You tell the software that you want a medium level of intrusiveness: In other words, you want the system to point out useful information to you, but you don't want it constantly bombarding you with data at every turn."
Honestly, who is actually going to do this?? Does the average person care enough about filtering the information they receive via the Web to implement this strategy? More importantly, does the average person have enough time? Perhaps those who want to evolve from information management sites like Bloglines are convinced Johnson is on the right track....The casual Googler probably isn't too actively involved in political blogging. I'm going to assume the political blogger, plus a portion of people who actively seek them out, aren't the ones using Google. They're probably using one of the many blog-specific search tools.

What Johnson is really saying, in a roundabout way, is that he wants the bloggers to take the work out of political blogs. You don't even have to visit a site if you already know what part of the political spectrum a specific blogger resides. Say you're a conservative looking for a blog that matches your opinion....if Google would just go ahead and tailor to your interests, rather than including links to blogs like Daily Kos, that would be just dandy. What he doesn't realize is that search engines already have similar features...MyYahoo is one that springs to mind.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Shameless self-plug

This is the one post that I'm going to tell you about the great friends I have and the wonderful things they bring to the music industry.

The first band that I'd like to talk about is a band called "bent left" the guys all came from my high school and they are a very political band in the punk music scene. They try to travel cross-country during the summers and play and record in Kansas City during the school year. They are a great group of guys that love to party and play music. They are the best and they are the greatest friends a kid could have. So If you're into punk you really need to check them out and seeing them live is the best. Here's a
  • great review
  • I found of an album of their's.

    The other band I'd like to plug tonight is a group that is based in Provo, Utah and tours the west during the summers. Their lead singer is a good friend of mine and they are really talented. They have been together for quite a while and have a couple of albums out. Their sound is pretty different, at least I think so. But they're fun to listen to and they are really good people too. Their website is found
  • here
  • . If you are ever randomly in the Utah or California you should see if you could catch a show. I think they are taking a break for now because their lead singer and the only member of the group I know personally is getting married so they have life getting in the way of their music right now. But if you could pick up their album and give it a listen I think you will find it enjoyable.

    cross-posted at
  • Just what I think