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This week’s readings – Nationalism, Postnationalism and Digital Power

“If we are to make responsible decisions today, we need to think about what might lie ahead” –Yes! Precisely, the incredibly fast pace of the Internet makes waiting for a historical perspective too costly. It is still evolving and it will never stop doing so—then we can’t wait until the dust settles to evaluate it. It is continally adjusting, and as hard as it is we need to try to jump ahead a couple of steps so, at least, we’re mildly aware of its consequences.

I think that commercialization allows for community building, it speeds it up and it can certainly make it sustainable. But at the same time, it hinders certain groups to join the community, and it threatens diversity by commodifying culture. Your second question is very thought provoking, too. We would expect extreme nationalism to be on a steady decline since WWII, but when we might think that human loyalties are beginning to be less fanatic and more free, we see a substantial growth of neo-Nazism, separatism, segregation, racism, purism…passion and loyalty for more humanistic causes, such as equal rights, environmental issues, world peace, etc have generated strong enough force to somewhat compensate the scale, but in the end it all seems to be temporary, just as political solidarity (online or otherwise). Nationalism (and racism) seem to be enrooted on a deeper level. So I don’t see common experiences competing with old loyalties any time soon, especially because those experiences are way less common (accessibility, again) than national identity. Frost’s point on political engagement kind of sustains this—the illusion of equality makes for a stronger divide. I agree with Frost’s conclusion—the empowering extremes (those who have absolute access and are ahead of the line, and on the other side the least empowered) are usually too far away from the real conflict (or too busy trying to survive) to jump into action. The border, the middle ground, is fertile ground for new ideas.

I agree with Honieh and Leslie—the web 2.0 is not only not defined by nationality, I think it actually erases those borders more than ever. English is the official Web language, and the knowledgeable few who know code can speak its second tongue. But on the other hand, the anonymity and the fluidity of the cyberspace allow for radical divisions and identity-based communities —maybe not based on nationality but on ideology and opinion. The web has the potential to polarize the extremes.

A powerful idea in Frost is seeing exclusion as a force to generate solidarity. It always has been—exclusion has played a vital role in the revolutionary wars and civil wars, in the fight for independence from colonial occupancy and minority upheavals. But the excluded need common tools and a common space, and the thought of the Web being a welcoming space for the construction of a new public sphere in Habermas’ sense is still a hard one for me to buy. I tend to agree more with the ‘utopia-deflating’ view of Morozov.

» Posted By Jimena On April 27, 2010 @ 2:06 pm

New Media: An exciting opportunity for cultural institutions!

Juliette, I’m realy interested in this topic but have a doubt– the reading is the entire “Participatory Museum” book? or is it a chapter in particular?

» Posted By Jimena On April 25, 2010 @ 6:26 pm

Weekly Summary: Education Evolution in the Age of New Media

I think that Universities have always been institutions that have a strong power on social status, all the way from the Middle Ages. I don’t believe that is going to change—knowledge has always been power. But I do agree that the University is being challenged as never before by technology, and it is also having a hard time incorporating it into its pedagogical system.

I think that economics play a vital role in this subject. The original vocation of the University (in the Middle Ages and Renaissance) was to be just that—as universal as possible. If we consider that in its original context, it makes a lot of sense: the more you knew of as many topics as possible, the better. In our days, the opposite is true: the more specialized your capacities, the better—and to do so, you must keep on paying for higher and higher scholarly grades that make you an ‘expert’ in very particular, small topics. I believe that specialization exists largely because of economic or ability has logically pushed the professional world into narrowing the fields of expertise. In general, I tend to agree much more with diversity and wide knowledge horizons, because they allow to interrelate ideas and topics and make creative connections between fields of study. In the early years of school, this is a basic necessity for development, but I think that also college and grad school require that openness. The excessive specialization has deepened the divide between sciences and humanities, which in turn has affected the educational system. For example, I think it’s terrible that since 1978, the only two areas on which Middle and High School students are examined to evaluate a school’s progress are Math and English—not taking into account Literature, History, Arts, etc. This in turn has caused schools to survive their budget cuts by eliminating arts classes entirely (at least in NY state). It might seem a far-fetched connection but I believe it is totally related—when you become more and more specialized in your field, the rest of the knowledge spectrum becomes completely irrelevant. Anyway, Dan raised an important question: where is the greater loss, in absolute specialization or in knowledge that’s so diluted that it loses the potential geniuses? I see academia as representing specialized teaching, and “general knowledge” as more related to ‘real life’. For me, the biggest trouble lies in the fact that academia is so detached from real life, and the consequence is that the very small percentage of the population that can reach higher education in any country (in relation with the enormous numbers of people without any formal education) are very far away from day-to-day problems, and it takes a long time for that knowledge to finally trickle down into the “street”, and for the feedback to tiptoe back to the classroom.

» Posted By Jimena On April 25, 2010 @ 6:55 pm

Surveillance Society & the Increasing Scarcity of Privacy

guys!! I keep coming back to comment here. I can’t help it. I miss you!
Check out The Simpson’s great episode on surveilance :)
http://www.hulu.com/watch/143446/the-simpsons-to-surveil-with-love

» Posted By Jimena On May 10, 2010 @ 11:37 pm

After Saturday’s bomb attempt in Times Square, the NYT is hosting an interesting debate on the efficiency of surveillance cameras as preventive strategies… Check this out:

Google, Facebook and other Internet services could be asked to carry out Web-based facial recognition technologies that will make it possible for anyone to snap a cellphone picture of a stranger on the street, plug the picture into Google, and produce tagged and untagged pictures of the person across the Web, challenging our expectations of anonymity in public as camera footage proliferates.

That challenge will become even more acute over the next decades, as Google and Facebook confront pressure to post live feeds from all public and private surveillance cameras online. As the surveillance network in world capitals becomes ubiquitous, it will be possible to click on a picture of me in Midtown, back click on me to see where I came from, forward click to see where I’m going, making possible 24/7 surveillance of everyone in the system. When confronted with this not-so-hypothetical scenario, most people balk. And to accept 24/7 ubiquitous surveillance in exchange for virtually non-existent security benefits seems like a bad bargain, by any sane cost-benefit analysis.

These are the debaters:

* Richard A. Clarke, author, “Cyber War”
* Steven Simon, co-author, “The Next Attack”
* Paul Ekman, expert on facial expressions
* Michael J. Black, computer scientist, Brown University
* Noah Shachtman, Wired magazine
* Michael J. Tarr, professor of cognitive neuroscience
* Bruce Schneier, security technologist
* Jeffrey Rosen, law professor, author of “The Naked Crowd”

http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/03/times-square-bombs-and-big-crowds/

» Posted By Jimena On May 4, 2010 @ 11:25 am

The digital afterlife: what happens in social media when we die? Part III

Great work! I enjoyed your travelogue from the beginning. I think that you did a great job addressing all of the angles in this complicated issue by bringing in specialized speakers.

I think it’s super interesting how our online presence gives us a “feeling” of control, and thus makes us think we can still have a say of our online image even after we’re dead. Let me try to explain…. if we take social media and online presence out of the picture for a sec– what can we do to be remembered in a nice way after death? It depends of the way we spend our life, the relationships that we forge, and the quality of our actions while we’re alive. Likewise, our social impact on others depends on our real, live interaction with them.

With social media, on the other hand, we have a sensation of “controlling” the impression we make on people by “managing” what we say, do, or how we look, in our online footprint. We only include what we like, our “nicest” side. That illusion of control seems to go further into how we want to be remembered after passing away– and we worry that only what we want remains on our profile, only the nice pics can be seen, and none of our “private” stuff opens up, such as emails, etc.

I guess we find our own digital after-life so important because our online social presence has become essential to us. In the end, don’t you think we’ll be remembered by the real impression we made on people, not as our profile dictates?

» Posted By Jimena On April 17, 2010 @ 4:22 pm

Ice Cream Spy’s Conclusion…For Now…

Both Ryan’s and Juliette’s edits on Wikipedia were deleted. It’s hard to use Wikipedia to gain advocates/market. I guess we need to make a business wiki page (such as Kotex’s)

» Posted By Jimena On April 25, 2010 @ 9:34 pm

Leslie,
I think that your travelogue is AMAZING. You truly went overboard with the rich media usage–from planning, learning programming, creating a network, finding the best platforms… all the way to branding and marketing. I really admire it and learned a lot from it.

For me it was like a class, really. I think that your WordPress blog is a great, friendly how-to use tools that I’m somewhat confused/scared to use, and it really clarifies what can be done with stuff–even Pipes, which I considered totally out of my technological league :) I especially liked how you had a clear plan of what to do and how to tackle each of the areas that needed to be covered for this to be successful. As you know, my travelogue was about getting people to collaborate, too, but I kept “patching up” my project as it went along, while you really had a sharp strategy. I’m with Ryan: “I humbly bow to your ice cream spy geotagging travelogue” :)

» Posted By Jimena On April 13, 2010 @ 3:25 pm

Networking Knowledge: Sharing is Caring

Nadine, this might be interesting for you on the Digital Divide topic:
Google’s Vint Cerf on the fact that only the 20% of the world’s population has internet:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCIgFq7Fqr8&feature=related

» Posted By Jimena On April 20, 2010 @ 1:28 pm

Hi,
Just wanted to share with you guys my experience with my first page from scratch in Wikipedia. After several long sediting sessions, I suddenly received a “copyright infringement” notice because the text I was using in the page was too similar to my own Eyewriter blogpost here. It also cited two other sites: Eyewriter.org and Notimpossiblefoundation.org as possible copyright violations.
I did as they asked me to–stated on the Talk pages that I had copyright over that content (I do, at least on my own blog post). I obtained info. from the Eyewriter.org site, but the Notimpossiblefoundation I was only citing as an external link.
The page was taken down and a copyright infringement notice was posted instead. Needless to say, I am frustrated.
After this much needed rant, I’d love to hear your feedback/opinion in class. See you in a little while.

» Posted By Jimena On April 20, 2010 @ 11:53 am

I’d like to focus the relationship between new media and space– ‘Intelligent’ architecture, interactive buildings, screens as walls, etc.

Another topic that I’d love to learn about is new media and OUTER space… beyond Google’s April Fool’s “Virgil” gag (where supposedly Google and Virgin would partner to create the first human colony on Mars by 2020)–what is happening with new media beyond Earth?

Do you think this is too sci-fi, or worth giving a try? Feedback appreciated :)

» Posted By Jimena On April 15, 2010 @ 6:37 pm

“Mashup Conclusion” (TDMC Remix)

Great post, Ryan! I loved the content and the form. It really opens a debate that can’t be easily solved.
I find the comparison between a visual collage and a musical collage super interesting. The reason for music (and video) being so harshly ruled is probably its commercial possibilities.

But for me, it all narrows down to consider mash-ups as a form of art, a completely different product than the ones they sample from. I believe that all art is, in a way, reinterpretation, and that all reinterpretation is a new creation. This makes me think of a huge debate we had a couple of years in Mexico’s federal artistic grants program, trying to define if actors and instrumentalists (as opposed to writers and composers) should be defined as “creators” or “interpreters”. In the end, after months of discussions and philosophical debates with experts, they decided that actors could receive the term “creators”–because even if they are ‘performing’someone else’s script, their personal interpretation is a form of unique creation. I believe sampling (visual or auditive) to be the same case. By sampling sound, the DJ is a)homaging the original artist, b)creating something completely new, and c)keeping the original author, and his work, alive. So thinking about your question, I believe it’s much more a matter of money than of ethics. I’d be honored if someone else used my work in their new creations: it would help me, as an artist, transcend. This is not to say that the artist doesn’t deserve to live from that homage, of course… but since it’s mainly about making money, the prices are crazy!

» Posted By Jimena On April 12, 2010 @ 10:49 pm

Weekly Summary: Genomes, Singularity, and Biomedia

I found this week’s readings fascinatingly scary, or scarily fascinating. Although there are tons of key issues in our world right now, somehow this gave me a greater sense of urgency—decisions are being taken that will forever change our existence and that we don’t really have a clue (or say) about.

I think we’re playing with fire, here. Of course, the medical possibilities are amazing and should be developed. But I agree with you guys—where (or how) do we stop? No governmental force is strong (or wise) enough to really play a substantial role—I guess that’s because nobody can see the whole picture, and there are too many angles to it and too many interests involved. As with intellectual property, privacy, ecology, (you name it), law is always playing catch-up, trying to regulate reality based on what has already happened. And we can’t even predict what needs to be legislated because of the complexity and newness of the topic.

I don’t really see who is the force that could regulate genetic research and intervention. The new frontier opens up with endless possibilities, and let’s faces it– we have not been good in regulating ourselves in the past; the way we’ve managed our environment is enough proof.

It is interesting the role that academia is playing here. I think it’s a good field where to play this game because they can host both the scientific development and its ethical and legal debate. Still, the topic is unlike any other: it has a “metaphysical” realm to it (if you excuse the term) that makes it hard to include in the secular academic debate. For example, the Center for Genome, Ethics, Law and Policy in Duke University states in its mission that they seek “arriving at a thoughtful consensus on how to make use of the innovations to enhance the well-being of individuals and society, while protecting values such as individual rights and distributive justice”– but they don’t really address the fact that we are messing with a human dimension that goes beyond biology and chemistry, and that can’t be seen under the microscope.

And well, the whole idea of singularity is quite disturbing. A.I. bothers me because I feel it doesn’t consider human intelligence in all its complexity, but as a capacity that can be fully deciphered and replicated by problem solving, logic, etc. But under the idea of multiple intelligences (some of which, to me, are related to the emotional and spiritual dimensions): can machines really duplicate us so accurately as to create a comprehension divide between real humans and transhumans?

I was also freaked out by the creepiness of Kurzweil’s goal of immortality, (not to mention its arrogance!) but somehow his idea of hitting the 3rd bridge into becoming “information” didn’t seem so far from the reality. I don’t mean that we’re actually dissolving into 0s and 1s, but really: aren’t societies and individuals treated as information in many cases? I mean, war strategies are decided based on stats—dead civilians become ‘casualties’, decisions are taken based on the lesser evil. Even the essential logic behind marketing is consumers=information.

» Posted By Jimena On April 13, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

Electronic Waste: A Conclusion

I really enjoyed your post! It was clear and useful.
I definitely think that the “business” edge to the issue is a force that will trigger more ideas and action about e-waste–when there’s money involved, people get creative and proactive.

You mentioned the importance of us consumers demanding greener electronics, by being aware enough to reward manufacturers with our business or punish them by ceasing to consume from those who don’t actively participate in the process. I think that besides giving manufacturers a sort of green report card, Federal government could motivate the consuming of greener electronics with fiscal incentives– lower taxes, or tax return, even, by buying greener electronics or recycling large appliances–a similar logic than the bottle industry, where you get back a deposit, but with ammounts that are proportionate to the appliances. This could engage the countries where the e-waste is exported, too…

» Posted By Jimena On April 12, 2010 @ 10:14 pm

Mobile Donations – Concluding Post

There is now a Spanish page on Mobile Donations in Wikipedia :)

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donativos_vía_celular

» Posted By Jimena On April 25, 2010 @ 8:54 pm

Cultural institutions are catching up in the use of technology (as we’ve been learning/commenting throughout the semester. This campaign seems to be working pretty well (Mobile donations for the Brooklyn Public Library) http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/09/no-phoning-in-the-library-except-to-send-donations/?scp=3&sq=%22mobile%20donations%22&st=cse

» Posted By Jimena On April 25, 2010 @ 8:26 pm

what makes people collaborate online?

Thanks all for your comments.
I totally agree with you about the importance of mistakes in learning. Believe me, this has been a the case! lol The web failure was a wrong choice of medium. The flavors.me website creates more of a display window and social media aggregator than an actual website, because it doesn’t allow for interaction. the prize definitely is a key issue, but since they are active participants in those groups anyway, I think that the community’s recognition could be a strong attraction.
Being able to be heard on the web is super hard! building yourself a name and voice is hard work, and I think that’s where a delicate balance between content, difussion and feedback (working your audience) come in… I would naturally lean towards quality content being the main element but of course that is super subjective as well.
Thanks for your pointers on the video. Making it has been a LEARNING experience alright!
Nadine, the FB page is http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Found-in-the-subway/104200259616957

» Posted By Jimena On April 6, 2010 @ 11:02 am

What is a museum in 2010? Part 2

Nope, I can see it alright! Maybe try to watch it directly on SlideShare?

Juliette, very interesting topic. I agree about the importance of the content, but I think it also depends on the audience. Museum visitors and those interested on major art exhibits would definitely be seeking a quality stream of information, but maybe teens or other target would want a more attractive, lively product over an in-depth take on the artwork. Next week Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder, will give a talk at the New Museum about technology and culture. Definitely a must! http://www.newmuseum.org/events

» Posted By Jimena On April 6, 2010 @ 11:09 am

Weekly Summary: Representation, Simulation and Fun

It seems that the topic of violence in video games gains wider attention. Just today, the Supreme Court agreed to decide whether California can ban the sale or rental of violent video games to kids.Ironically, Gov. Schwarzenegger put aside his own violent movie past to sign the law, but the industry sued the state and it was banned shortly after. It actually never took effect, but now it might.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/26/AR2010042601762.html?hpid=topnews

» Posted By Jimena On April 26, 2010 @ 10:39 am

The debate surrounding violence in videogames and its influence to a person’s actual moral conduct is as old as audiovisual media, I guess. What would be the difference between violent TV and violent gaming in influencing someone’s actions? As ‘Silash’ reacts in this article* about RapeLay: “We can argue that if you are evil enough to rape, RapeLay isn’t going to make you worse; and if you aren’t evil enough to rape, this game isn’t going to make you evil enough. It’s just like how Grand Theft Auto is not going to turn you into a car thief who beats hookers and shoots cops. The people who steal cars, beat hookers, and shoot cops are already unhinged and a video game isn’t going to change that.”

Even though a game might not be what makes the difference, I do believe that the personal experiencing of situations portrayed in gaming have much more power than solely watching violence as a third person spectator, especially for children. The fact that psychologists use gaming as a form of therapy for post-trauma recovery in war as in your example about “prescription for Iraq vets”; or with educational purposes such as the ones in “games for change” that Elizabeth talks about, proves the power that simulation has in someone’s psyque.

I think that both representation and simulation are powerful tools, but I don’t believe that simulation can replace the widely-used representation. Simulation is great to learn practical skills, such as techniques (as the driving example), but I think that there are certain abilities and traits that involve moral and emotional judgment that are best learnt through stories.

A key difference is that simulation’s inherent subjective nature does not allow for a wider perspective of a situation: through representation one can gain access to the “big picture”, an all-comprising look at things that lets us evaluate from afar and create “forinstances”. In simulation the idea is to be so immersed that the senses and feelings are totally involved, so critical assessment is harder to do.

*http://letters.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/2010/03/31/rapelay_rape_video_game/view/?show=all

» Posted By Jimena On April 6, 2010 @ 10:10 am

Electronic Waste: Part Two

Very interesting, and very scary.

In Mexico we are lagging way behind other countries’ regulations for e-waste management. Even though we are not one of the main electronics manufacturers, between 150,000 and 180,000 tons of electronic waste are generated each year. Legislation that forces producers to take responsibility is currently in its very early stages, there is little awareness amongst consumers about this problem, and it’s not easy to find places that recycle electronics.

Still, there is another side to the problem. As in many other developing countries, there is a huge informal recycling economy going on. Not just e-waste, but garbage in general is the primary income source for thousands of Mexican families. An enormous unofficial –but nonetheless very organized– system exists, where discarded objects are resold in bulk or dismembered to be sold by parts. Logically, electronic waste can be sold far better than cardboard, fabric, or other materials. So ironically, the e-waste that arrives from the US feeds an informal but strong waste economy… Of course, this garbage (local and imported) is handled without any considerations to its toxicity, polluting land and water, and it’s re-recycled and re-sold over and over, thus circulating for years after the original consumer has discarded it.

» Posted By Jimena On April 3, 2010 @ 11:09 pm

The digital afterlife: what happens in social media when we die? Part I

Great post, Nadine.

It is very interesting how the different companies deal with the digital afterlife. The fact that Facebook allows a profile to be accessed by a friend or family member, and even turned into a memorial, contrasts highly with Yahoo’s delete-all policy.

It all goes back to the privacy issue. The digital life that people lead may or may not have anything to do with their lifes in the real world. What right do we have for some stuff to remain private after our death? My email account may contain a lot of information that I would not like to disclose to certain people, as close as they may be, after my death.

With Facebook it’s the same. Would I want my mom/husband/lawyer to suddenly gain access to all of my pics or my personal messages?

Of course, this issue is also present in real life– when you die, people can read your journal, go through your old letters, learn your secrets. But while it was usually one or two people going to go through a loved one’s stuff after he passed away, the Web remembers and replicates to an invisible audience, and your stuff can remain online and out of your control forever. I think it’s pertinent to consider who do you want to trust your ‘digital will’ to after you pass away.

ps. I think DeathSwitch is kind of a creepy name! lol

» Posted By Jimena On March 28, 2010 @ 12:20 pm

Weekly Summary : Interface!

Very interesting topic.

I am hooked on the debate between what exactly IS efficiency and why do we look so hungrily for it. It takes us back to the debate of what is good design–the characteristic that relieves us from needing to think? Or what empowers us to make more informed, independent
decisions?
I think Dan Ariely makes very important points,not only by demonstrating the importance of design in decision making, but the role that the “useless” plays in the forming of our discernment and critical abilities: “Useless helps people figure out what they want”– so sacrificing what’s apparently useless has a higher price to pay than it seems.

On the one hand, ‘efficient’ applications/websites allow us to cut off time and hassle to get where we want to be. But in a world of endless possibilities, how do we know where we want to be–what is better, desirable for us? Why sould a browser, or any given corporation, know what is best? As we continously make more and more decissions based on other’s experiences: choose restaurants based on Yelp, roam the city according to Foursquare; how do we enlarge and enrich our network? As we were saying last class, defining a network is hard because they have an exceptional topology, they go beyond what we can see (beyond vision) and are formed by countless layers that link on and on.

Interface design relates to the water/culture metaphor: as hardware designers participate in content creation, they ‘bottle’ the options and therefore reduce the sources. Still, water always manages to filter through cracks, as Mushon’s essay points out. There is indeed a metaweb that allows for a freer participation. Still, we can’t forget the importance of media literacy for informed, engaged participation to take place. As the Rasiej & Sifry article shows (and many other examples we’ve seen in class), the percentage of users who engage in informed choices in the Web is very low. The possibility of empowering while clarifying seems to be a complex mixture of ethics of power + user engagement and participation. Pretty much like democracy itself :)

» Posted By Jimena On March 28, 2010 @ 4:30 pm

In the subway

thanks for your comments, you guys. You all point out very important stuff.

It turned out the webpage was not a great idea after all because it doesn’t support much interactivity– no postings or comments to the site, and the FB and Twitter services aren’t work (it’s supposed to be a temporary problem). So in the end, it is more of a window than a page. :(

I’ve been working on the marketing issue and getting the word out, which has turned out to be THE issue. I’ve been trying to contact the folks at Found Magazine since last week with no luck yet, which is a bummer because the whole idea is to collaborate with them…

the categorization was restrictive too. Thanks for pointing that out, Mushon

the question is turning out to be the hardest part, though. Thanks to all for your input.

» Posted By Jimena On March 28, 2010 @ 10:21 am

The Art of the Mashup/Remix Culture

Great! Needless to say, I want to learn, too (PC user :(

I think Mushon’s point is very interesting to go into. I think back to the formal invention of collage in art, and how suddenly the transgression of orthodox techniques opens up larger possibilities for expression.
I do see a difference between a collage, or a video like yours, or a remixed song, which takes samples from other music to create a new form of expression; and data mashing such as Mushon’s example of google maps embedded in other sites. I think that a real mashup happens when the different languages get mixed in the same production and change the meaning–very evident in image and sound. There de lines that divide one ingredient from the other get very blurry. I guess it goes to the fine line that divides form from content– in a McLuhan sense, how form(medium) becomes content(message).

» Posted By Jimena On March 28, 2010 @ 4:50 pm

Weekly Summary: Networking, Notworking, and What to do Next?

After these two weeks of actively participating in Wikipedia, these readings resonated even more. I have understood more than ever that the interfaces that allow interaction with the networks have “specific built-in social, cultural and aesthetic agendas”. The idea of cooperation is honest and straightforward, but also somewhat romantic—it takes true literacy to be able to comply with Wikipedia’s needs and rules. English is, by far, the dominant language, but also html… even though editing it is becoming increasingly “friendlier” (although the Beta version for Spanish Wikipedia is way less friendly than WordPress, for example), the truth is that for somebody that isn’t related with computers, it is not easy—the aesthetics and the logic of code-writers is everywhere. Instructions in Spanish are even less clear than the ones in English—I believe that they are being translated by a language application and the words don’t always make sense. English can be tasted even in other languages.
I use, enjoy and am thankful for Wikipedia. I believe it is one of the greatest and most successful collaborative projects there are. But Wikipedia is gaining more and more weight as a top-row knowledge source. If it is being shaped by users, and the rules are so exclusive (language, skills, use), it is also very dangerous, because the common knowledge is being filtered by a non-inclusive (exclusive, actually) network.

» Posted By Jimena On April 25, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

“Empathy, not sympathy”: DIY, custom-made assistive technology.

Welcome! thanks for the comment.

I hadn’t heard about openEyes and it does look pretty similar. It is a bit more expensive, though, the 2 cameras do add up… although if webcams can be used the price could be lowered down quite a bit.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the main difference is in the software: The EyeWriter’s software is a drawing app, and by what I could tell from the openEyes project, the software is intended for basic gaze tracking, but it would still need an additional app for word processing, drawing, browsing, etc…

I like the hardware, the flexible mounting seems confortable and adaptable. Also, it looks pretty sturdy… The EyeWriter was designed for an ALS patient without head movement; i’m not sure that openEyes was intended for a paralysis patient. Do you know?

Thanks for your comment!

» Posted By Jimena On March 9, 2010 @ 11:16 pm

Travelogue 3 Conclusion: It’s up to YOU to develop Living Stories

Ryan, your topic was very interesting. I especially liked the way you conducted your research and the questions asked.
I think that the idea behind Living Stories is huge, and in line with the trend/need to use aggregative sites in order to manage the enormous flow of information available. I think that even if it is a bit static for now, the project will resurface with more strenght. I could totally imagine the big news corporations interested in adapting this idea to their own information production, even if it doesn’t mix several sources (as in a a more flexible and comprehensive interface for any given online newspaper, that helped the user with his research & management of info).
It will be specially interesting to see the reaction of AP, AFP, & Reuters. Even if agencies don’t cater to the same audiences that newspapers do, I do think that this service would represent a threat for them, as some smaller clients could consider replacing a costly subscribtion to a news agency with a free multi-source stream of information.
The issue of someone being “behind the machine” (an editor) is essential. The role of the editor in news agencies is pivotal (to the point of distinguishing an agency from the other) and I still believe that, since we need filters, they’d better be human beings with common sense and expertise than just algorythms (I agree with you in this one, Lanier :)

» Posted By Jimena On March 9, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

Networked City – Reading Summaries

This week’s material makes me consider, once again, the potential that the flow of information coming from the spaces and objects (longer and bigger than what we can perceive with our five senses) have of creating tighter communities, cities that are more interlinked; or generating exactly the opposite–populations that are more divided by the capacity to read and use this inforamtion.

“Networked mechanisms intended to actively deny, delay or degrade the free use of space.”

When, as Greenfield puts it, “data is pouring out of the city”, that data is certainly not readable by all. So the urban landscape, which by itself has very different layers more or less accessible depending on the person’s circumstances: social and economical status, cultural and academic level, etc, is in danger of becoming more segregated. When “it rains on Oxford street”, and information is pouring on us, it is not “all” of us that are getting wet–it rains for some but not for all. So when considering how does it “feel like” to live in a heavily networked city, I think we have to consider that now more than ever, there are many cities and many streets coexisting, overlapped, at the same time. And if the intention is to generate an engaged civic community, then we should take into consideration the alienating effect of the networked spaces.

This is not to say that the benefits and possibilities of the networked reality are huge, but in order to be able to really “compose the city to your liking” you need to be able to read it, and a long time will pass before the majority of a city’s population has comparable literacy levels.

» Posted By Jimena On March 8, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

Will the Eyewriter influence the field of Assistive Technology?

Hi Ryan, I definitely think that a cheaper version is possible simply by getting cheaper material. The one that they constructed in Mumbai came up to be even less expensive than building one in the US.
Thanks a lot for your input– I had not contacted the rehab centers directly but the Therapist in Philly is a great lead. I will contact her immediately. Thanks again!

» Posted By Jimena On March 5, 2010 @ 8:27 pm

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