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getting a new Mac up and running – Snakes and Ladders
"Things I do when I get a new Mac, more or less in order:

• install Homebrew [https://brew.sh/ ]
• use Homebrew to install pandoc [https://pandoc.org/ * ]
• install BBedit
• install MacTex
• type this into the terminal: defaults write com.barebones.bbedit FullScreenWindowsHogScreen -bool NO
• type this into the terminal: defaults write com.apple.dock single-app -bool true (followed by killall Dock)
enable Night Shift
• install TextExpander
• install Alfred
• install Hazeover
• install Hazel

Everything else can wait; once I have the above in place — plus of course syncing all my existing TextExpander snippets — I can do almost everything I really need to do on a computer, with maximum focus and speed."

[*"About pandoc

If you need to convert files from one markup format into another, pandoc is your swiss-army knife. Pandoc can convert documents in (several dialects of) Markdown, reStructuredText, textile, HTML, DocBook, LaTeX, MediaWiki markup, TWiki markup, TikiWiki markup, DokuWiki markup, Creole 1.0, Vimwiki markup, roff man, OPML, Emacs Org-Mode, Emacs Muse, txt2tags, Microsoft Word docx, LibreOffice ODT, EPUB, Jupyter notebooks ipynb, or Haddock markup to

HTML formats
XHTML, HTML5, and HTML slide shows using Slidy, reveal.js, Slideous, S5, or DZSlides

Word processor formats
Microsoft Word docx, OpenOffice/LibreOffice ODT, OpenDocument XML, Microsoft PowerPoint.

Ebooks
EPUB version 2 or 3, FictionBook2

Documentation formats
DocBook version 4 or 5, TEI Simple, GNU TexInfo, roff man, roff ms, Haddock markup

Archival formats
JATS

Page layout formats
InDesign ICML

Outline formats
OPML

TeX formats
LaTeX, ConTeXt, LaTeX Beamer slides

PDF
via pdflatex, xelatex, lualatex, pdfroff, wkhtml2pdf, prince, or weasyprint.

Lightweight markup formats
Markdown (including CommonMark and GitHub-flavored Markdown), reStructuredText, AsciiDoc, Emacs Org-Mode, Emacs Muse, Textile, txt2tags, MediaWiki markup, DokuWiki markup, TikiWiki markup, TWiki markup, Vimwiki markup, and ZimWiki markup.

Interactive notebook formats
Jupyter notebook (ipynb)

Custom formats
custom writers can be written in lua.

Pandoc understands a number of useful markdown syntax extensions, including document metadata (title, author, date); footnotes; tables; definition lists; superscript and subscript; strikeout; enhanced ordered lists (start number and numbering style are significant); running example lists; delimited code blocks with syntax highlighting; smart quotes, dashes, and ellipses; markdown inside HTML blocks; and inline LaTeX. If strict markdown compatibility is desired, all of these extensions can be turned off.

LaTeX math (and even macros) can be used in markdown documents. Several different methods of rendering math in HTML are provided, including MathJax and translation to MathML. LaTeX math is converted (as needed by the output format) to unicode, native Word equation objects, MathML, or roff eqn."
mac  alanjacobs  computers  osx  macos  via:lukeneff  homebrew  pandoc  files  filetype  conversion  text  plaintext  markup  html  epub  latex  setup 
7 weeks ago by robertogreco
The UX design case of closed captions for everyone // Sebastian Greger
"Are video subtitles really chiefly for users who cannot hear or lack an audio device? A recent Twitter thread on “closed captions for the hearing” triggered a brief qualitative exploration and thought experiment – there may well be a growing group of users being forgotten in the design of closed captions.

Most commonly perceived as an auxiliary means for the hearing impaired, video subtitles, a.k.a. closed captions (CC), have only recently started to be widely considered as an affordance for users in situations with no audio available/possible (think mobile devices in public settings, libraries, shared office spaces); the latter to the extend that contemporary “social media marketing guidelines” strongly recommend subtitling video clips uploaded to Facebook, Twitter et al.

So: subtitles are for those who cannot hear, or with muted devices?

Who else uses closed captions?

I’m personally a great fan of closed captions, for various reasons unrelated to either of the above, and have often noticed certain limitations in their design. Hence, the user researcher inside me just did a somersault as I randomly encountered a Twitter thread [https://twitter.com/jkottke/status/1091338252475396097 ] following Jason Kottke asking his 247.000 followers:
After seeing several photos my (English-speaking, non-deaf) friends have taken of their TV screens over the past week, I’m realizing that many of you watch TV with closed captions (or subtitles) on?! Is this a thing? And if so, why?

The 150+ replies (I guess this qualifies as a reasonable sample for a qualitative analysis of sorts?) are a wonderful example of “accessibility features” benefiting everybody (I wrote about another instance recently [https://sebastiangreger.net/2018/11/twitter-alt-texts-on-db-trains/ ]). The reasons why people watch TV with closed captions on, despite having good hearing abilities and not being constrained by having to watch muted video, are manifold and go far beyond those two most commonly anticipated use cases.

[image: Close-up image of a video with subtitles (caption: "Closed captions are used by people with good hearing and audio playback turned on. An overseen use case?")]

Even applying a rather shallow, ex-tempore categorisation exercise based on the replies on Twitter, I end up with an impressive list to start with:

• Permanent difficulties with audio content
◦ audio processing disorders
◦ short attention span (incl., but not limited to clinical conditions)
◦ hard of hearing, irrespective of age
• Temporary impairments of hearing or perception
◦ watching under the influence of alcohol
◦ noise from eating chips while watching
• Environmental/contextual factors
◦ environment noise from others in the room (or a snoring dog)
◦ distractions and multitasking (working out, child care, web browsing, working, phone calls)
• Reasons related to the media itself
◦ bad audio levels of voice vs. music
• Enabler for improved understanding
◦ easier to follow dialogue
◦ annoyance with missing dialogue
◦ avoidance of misinterpretations
◦ better appreciation of dialogue
• Better access to details
◦ able to take note of titles of songs played
◦ ability to understand song lyrics
◦ re-watching to catch missed details
• Language-related reasons
◦ strong accents
◦ fast talking, mumbling
◦ unable to understand foreign language
◦ insecurity with non-native language
• Educational goals, learning and understanding
◦ language learning
◦ literacy development for children
◦ seeing the spelling of unknown words/names
◦ easier memorability of content read (retainability)
• Social reasons
◦ courtesy to others, either in need for silence or with a need/preference for subtitles
◦ presence of pets or sleeping children
◦ avoiding social conflict over sound level or distractions (“CC = family peace”)
• Media habits
◦ ability to share screen photos with text online
• Personal preferences
◦ preference for reading
◦ acquired habit
• Limitations of technology skills
◦ lack of knowledge of how to turn them off

An attempt at designerly analysis

The reasons range from common sense to surprising, such as the examples of closed captions used to avoid family conflict or the two respondents explicitly mentioning “eating chips” as a source of disturbing noise. Motivations mentioned repeatedly refer to learning and/or understanding, but also such apparently banal reasons like not knowing how to turn them off (a usability issue?). Most importantly, though, it becomes apparent that using CC is more often than not related to choice/preference, rather than to impairment or restraints from using audio.

At the same time, it becomes very clear that not everybody likes them, especially when forced to watch with subtitles by another person. The desire/need of some may negatively affect the experience of others present. A repeat complaint that, particularly with comedy, CC can kill the jokes may also hint at the fact that subtitles and their timing could perhaps be improved by considering them as more than an accessibility aid for those who would not hear the audio? (It appears as if the scenario of audio and CC consumed simultaneously is not something considered when subtitles are created and implemented; are we looking at another case for “exclusive design”?)

And while perceived as distracting when new – this was the starting point of Kottke’s Tweet – many of the comments share the view that it becomes less obtrusive over time; people from countries where TV is not dubbed in particular are so used to it they barely notice it (“becomes second nature”). Yet, there are even such interesting behaviours like people skipping back to re-read a dialogue they only listened to at first, as well as that of skipping back to be able to pay better attention to the picture at second view (e.g. details of expression) after reading the subtitles initially.

Last but not least, it is interesting how people may even feel shame over using CC. Only a conversation like the cited Twitter thread may help them realise that it is much more common than they thought. And most importantly that it has nothing to do with a perceived stigmatisation of being “hard of hearing”.

CC as part of video content design

The phenomenon is obviously not new. Some articles on the topic suggest that it is a generational habit [https://medium.com/s/the-upgrade/why-gen-z-loves-closed-captioning-ec4e44b8d02f ] of generation Z (though Kottke’s little survey proves the contrary), or even sees [https://www.wired.com/story/closed-captions-everywhere/ ] it as paranoid and obsessive-compulsive behaviour of “postmodern completists” as facilitated by new technological possibilities. Research on the benefits of CC for language learning, on the other hand, reaches back [https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19388078909557984 ] several decades.

No matter what – the phenomenon in itself is interesting enough to make this a theme for deeper consideration in any design project that contains video material. Because, after all, one thing is for sure: closed captions are not for those with hearing impairments or with muted devices alone – and to deliver great UX, these users should be considered as well."

[See also: https://kottke.org/19/04/why-everyone-is-watching-tv-with-closed-captioning-on-these-days ]
closedcaptioning  subtitles  closedcaptions  text  reading  genz  generationz  audio  video  tv  film  dialogue  listening  howweread  2019  sebastiangreger  literacy  language  languages  ux  ui  television  ocd  attention  adhd  languagelearning  learning  howwelearn  processing  hearing  sound  environment  parenting  media  multimedia  clarity  accents  memory  memorization  children  distractions  technology  classideas 
7 weeks ago by robertogreco
Why Gen Z Loves Closed Captioning – The Upgrade – Medium
"Old technology finds a surprising new application

“Everyone does it.”

These were the words from my college-aged daughter when I caught her lounging on our couch, streaming Friends with 24-point closed captioning on. She has no hearing impairment, and I wanted to know what she was up to.

Does “everyone” do it? My wife and I turned to Facebook and a private, nationwide group for parents with near-adult children. “Anyone else’s college student (without a hearing disability) watch TV with the closed captioning on and insist that everyone does it?” my wife posted. Seven hundred responses (and counting) later, we had our answer.

“It helps me with my ADHD: I can focus on the words, I catch things I missed, and I never have to go back.”
Many parents expressed similar confusion with the TV-watching habits of their millennial and Gen Z children, often followed with, “I thought it was just us.”

I returned to my daughter, who had now switched to the creepy Lifetime import You.

“Why do you have captions on?” I asked.

“It helps me with my ADHD: I can focus on the words, I catch things I missed, and I never have to go back,” she replied. “And I can text while I watch.”

My multitasking daughter used to watch TV while working on her laptop and texting or FaceTiming on her phone. She kept rewinding the DVR to catch the last few minutes she’d missed because she either zoned out or was distracted by another screen.

Her response turned out to be even more insightful than I realized at first. A number of mental health experts I spoke with — and even one study I found — supported the notion that watching with closed captioning serves a valuable role for those who struggle with focus and listening.

“I do see this a lot in my practice,” said Dr. Andrew Kent, an adolescent psychiatrist practicing in New York and Medical Director of New York START, Long Island. “I believe auditory processing is more easily impacted upon by distractions, and that they need to read [captions] to stay focused.”

Closed captioning is a relatively recent development in the history of broadcasting, and it was designed with the hearing impaired in mind. According to a useful history on the National Captioning Institute’s (NCI) website, the technology dates back to the early 1970s, when Julia Child’s The French Chef “made history as the first television program accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers.” Real-time captioning arrived later, with stenographers typing at a blazing 250 words-per-minute to keep up with live news and sporting events.

They use captions to focus more intently on the content.
If it wasn’t for the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 and additional rules adopted by the FCC in 2012, it’s unlikely my daughter’s IP-based Netflix streaming content would even have closed captioning options today.

While the NCI doesn’t explicitly acknowledge the growing use of closed captioning by those without hearing impairments, it does note that “closed captioning has grown from an experimental service intended only for people who are deaf to a truly global communications service that touches the lives of millions of people every day in vital ways.”

It’s certainly not just a phenomenon for young people. There are many people my age who admit to using them because they have some middle-aged hearing loss or simply need help understanding what the characters on Luther or Peaky Blinders are saying. They use captions to focus more intently on the content.

The need to read captions for what you can hear might even have a biological base. According to Dr. Sudeepta Varma, a psychiatrist at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, some people may have trouble processing the audio from television.

“I believe that there are a number of individuals who have ADHD who may also suffer from undiagnosed auditory processing disorder (APD), and for these individuals… this may be very helpful,” Dr. Varma told me via email. Closed captioning can provide the visual cues that APD sufferers need to overcome their issues with listening and comprehension, she added.

APD refers to how the brain processes auditory information, and though it supposedly only affects around 5 percent of school-age children, there’s reportedly been a significant uptick in overall awareness. As Dr. Varma pointed out, there may be a lot of people who don’t realize they have APD, but are aware of some of the symptoms, which include being bothered by loud noises, difficulty focusing in loud environments, and forgetfulness.

There may be applications in the classroom, too. In a 2015 study of 2,800 college-age students on the impact of closed captioning on video learning, 75 percent of respondents mentioned that they struggle with paying attention in class. “The most common reasons students used captions… was to help them focus,” Dr. Katie Linder, the research director at Oregon State University who led the study, told me.

And even four years ago, there were hints that the use of closed captioning as a focusing tool would bleed outside the classroom.

As a report on the study put it, “Several people in this study also mentioned that they use captions all the time, not just for their learning experience. Captions with Netflix was mentioned multiple times. So, we know that students are engaging with them outside of the classroom.”

When the NCI first co-developed closed captioning technology some 50 years ago, they called it “words worth watching,” and it did transform millions of lives. Today, we may be witnessing — or reading — a similar revolution."
closedcaptioning  subtitles  closedcaptions  text  reading  genz  generationz  audio  video  tv  film  dialogue  listening  howweread  2019  lanceulnoff  television  adhd  attention  classideas 
7 weeks ago by robertogreco
Browsh
"Browsh is a fully-modern text-based browser. It renders anything that a modern browser can; HTML5, CSS3, JS, video and even WebGL. It can be used from a terminal or from within a normal browser. Its main purpose is to significantly reduce bandwidth and thus both increase browsing speeds and decrease bandwidth costs."

[See also: https://github.com/browsh-org/browsh ]
browsers  opensource  software  text  terminal  bandwidth  speed 
july 2018 by robertogreco
Pilgrim
"Pilgrim is something like a combination of a bookmarklet and web-crawler. It provides a better experience for consuming long-form text and exploring related materials on the web.

It works by extracting the content of an article, and loading any links clicked inline on the page. As you go deeper into supplemental material, your path is maintained, giving one a better sense of where the relevant information flows.

Pilgrim is an open source project by Are.na initiated with generous support from the Knight Foundation Prototype Fund"

[via: https://twitter.com/jsamlarose/status/982550374312759296 ]
are.na  via:jslr  bookmarking  hypertext  reading  text  longform  instapaper  howweread  online  bookmarklet 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Facebook is wrong, text is deathless
[resurfaced because:

"Welcome to the Post-text Future
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/02/09/technology/the-rise-of-a-visual-internet.html ]

"Maybe this is coming from deep within the literacy bubble, but:

Text is surprisingly resilient. It’s cheap, it’s flexible, it’s discreet. Human brains process it absurdly well considering there’s nothing really built-in for it. Plenty of people can deal with text better than they can spoken language, whether as a matter of preference or necessity. And it’s endlessly computable — you can search it, code it. You can use text to make it do other things.

In short, all of the same technological advances that enable more and more video, audio, and immersive VR entertainment also enable more and more text. We will see more of all of them as the technological bottlenecks open up.

And text itself will get weirder, its properties less distinct, as it reflects new assumptions and possibilities borrowed from other tech and media. It already has! Text can be real-time, text can be ephemeral — text has taken on almost all of the attributes we always used to distinguish speech, but it’s still remained text. It’s still visual characters registered by the eye standing in for (and shaping its own) language.

Because nothing has proved as invincible as writing and literacy. Because text is just so malleable. Because it fits into any container we put it in. Because our world is supersaturated in it, indoors and out. Because we have so much invested in it. Because nothing we have ever made has ever rewarded our universal investment in it more. Unless our civilization fundamentally collapses, we will never give up writing and reading.

We’re still not even talking to our computers as often as we’re typing on our phones. What logs the most attention-hours — i.e., how media companies make their money — is not and has never been the universe of communications.

(And my god — the very best feature Facebook Video has, what’s helping that platform eat the world — is muted autoplay video with automatic text captions. Forget literature — even the stupid viral videos people watch waiting for the train are better when they’re made with text!)

Nothing is inevitable in history, media, or culture — but literacy is the only thing that’s even close. Bet for better video, bet for better speech, bet for better things we can’t imagine — but if you bet against text, you will lose."
timcarmody  2016  text  facebook  canon  communication  evolution  resilience  efficiency  elegance  adaptability  simplicity 
february 2018 by robertogreco
Notational
"The Text is plural. Which is not simply to say that it has several meanings, but that it accomplishes the very plural of meaning: an irreducible (and not merely an acceptable) plural. The Text is not a co-existence of meanings but a passage, an overcrossing; thus it answers not to an interpretation, even a liberal one, but to an explosion, a dissemination. The plural of the Text depends, that is, not on the ambiguity of its contents but on what might be called the stereographic plurality of its weave of signifiers (etymologically, the text is a tissue, a woven fabric). The reader of the Text may be compared to someone at a loose end (someone slackened off from any imaginary); this passably empty subject strolls – it is what happened to the author of these lines, then it was that he had a vivid idea of the Text – on the side of a valley, a oued flowing down below (oued is there to bear witness to a certain feeling of unfamiliarity); what he perceives is multiple, irreducible, coming from a disconnected, heterogeneous variety of substances and perspectives: lights, colours, vegetation, heat, air, slender explosions of noises, scant cries of birds, children’s voices from over on the other side, passages, gestures, clothes of inhabitants near or far away.

All these incidents are half identifiable: they come from codes which are known but their combination is unique, founds the stroll in a difference repeatable only as difference. So the Text: it can be it only in its difference (which does not mean its individuality), its reading is semelfactive (this rendering illusory any inductive-deductive science of texts – no ‘grammar’ of the text) and nevertheless woven entirely with citations, references, echoes, cultural languages (what language is not?), antecedent or contemporary, which cut across it through and through in a vast stereophony. The intertextual in which every text is held, it itself being the text-between of another text, is not to be confused with some origin of the text: to try to find the ‘sources’, the ‘influences’ of a work, is to fall in with the myth of filiation; the citations which go to make up a text are anonymous, untraceable, and yet already read: they are quotations without inverted commas."
rolandbarthes  text  language  grammar  citations  references  echoes  culture  intertextual  influences  etymology  gestures  perspective  sources  influence  interconnected  texture  interwoven  intertextuality  interconnectivity 
february 2018 by robertogreco
Seedship
"Seedship, a simple text-only game about interstellar exploration & colonization. My best result was "Corrupt Post-Singularity Democracy" (9952 points) http://philome.la/johnayliff/seedship/play "
game  text  games  gaming  videogames  scifi  sciencefiction  toplay 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Aaron Stewart-Ahn on Twitter: "Our media literacy about movies tends to prioritize text over subtext, emotion, and sound vision & time, and it has sadly sunk into audience… https://t.co/pdGb93PJqL"
"Our media literacy about movies tends to prioritize text over subtext, emotion, and sound vision & time, and it has sadly sunk into audiences' minds. I'd say some movies are even worth a handful of shots / sounds they build up to."

[in response to (the starred part of this thread):
https://twitter.com/RealGDT/status/933796336683515904
https://twitter.com/RealGDT/status/933797652914872321
https://twitter.com/RealGDT/status/933798079618105345
https://twitter.com/RealGDT/status/933798628635709440
https://twitter.com/RealGDT/status/933800708960174080 [****]
https://twitter.com/RealGDT/status/933801838733701121
https://twitter.com/RealGDT/status/933802333053501440
https://twitter.com/RealGDT/status/933808111663513600

"13 Tweets on why I am interviewing Michael Mann and George Miller (2 weeks each) about their films this Sabbatical year.

I sometimes feel that great films are made / shown at a pace that does not allow them to "land" in their proper weight or formal / artisitic importance...
18 replies 172 retweets 763 likes

As a result, often, these films get discussed in "all aspects" at once. But mostly, plot and character- anecdote and flow, become the point of discussion. Formal appreciation and technique become secondary and the specifics of narrative technique only passingly address

(adressed, I mean).

I want to do it because I want to know. I want to read their words, their reasons and I want to review their films as I would revisit a painting or a dance piece or a music number- I want to discuss lens choices and the vital difference between a dolly, techno crane or mini jib.

I would love to commemorate their technical choices and their audiovisual tools. I would love to dissect the narrative importance and impact of color, light, movement, wardrobe and set design. As Mann once put it: "Everything tells you something"

[****] I think we owe it to these (and a handful of filmmakers) to have their formal choices commemorated, the way one can appreciatethe voigour and thickness and precision of a brushtroke when you stand in front of an original painting.

A travelling shot IS a moral choice- but also a narrative one, that goes beyond style when applied by a master. I remember that epic moment in which Max steps out of the interceptor in Mad Max and removes his sunglasses- the wide lens pushes in and jibs up- underlining emotion

Uh- it's not quite 13 tweets yet but you catch my drift- and I have brussel sprouts in the frying pan- gotta go. But, there- that's the idea behind those 4 weeks of visit to two masters. Hugs to all.

I had my caramelized brussel sprouts. Nice.

Anyway, my hope is that we can dissect the importance of audiovisual tools delivering/reinforcing theme and character in a film. If these interviews / dialogues are useful I would keep having them. Filmmakers to filmmaker."]

[My response:

https://twitter.com/rogre/status/933806291461423105
"Our education system prioritizes text. Deviation from text is discouraged."

https://twitter.com/rogre/status/933808601608552448
"“To use the language well, says the voice of literacy, cherish its classic form. Do not choose the offbeat at the cost of clarity.” http://some-velvet-morning.tumblr.com/post/166694371846/shinjimoon-nothing-could-be-more-normative [from “Commitment from the Mirror-Writing Box,” Trinh T. Minh-Ha, Woman, Native, Other]

https://twitter.com/rogre/status/933808729937526784
"Clarity is a means of subjection, a quality both of official, taught language and of correct writing, two old mates of power; together they flow, together they flower, vertically, to impose an order."]
medialiteracy  aaronstewart-ahn  2017  guillermodeltoro  michaelmann  georgemiller  multiliteracies  text  film  filmmaking  plit  character  necdote  flow  dance  color  light  movement  wardrobe  trinhminh-ha  audiovisual  emotion  madmax  technique  canon 
november 2017 by robertogreco
You Have a New Memory - Long View on Education
"Last night I nearly cleaned out my social media presence on Instagram as I’ve used it about 6 times in two years. More generally, I want to pull back on any social media that isn’t adding to my life (yeah, Facebook, I’m talking about you). Is there anything worth staying on Instagram for? I know students use it to show off the photographic techniques they learn in their digital photography class. When I scrolled through to see what photos have been posted from the location of our school, I was caught by a very striking image that represents a view out of a classroom.

One of the most striking things about Instagram is how students engage with it (likes) way more than they do our school Twitter stream. I care about where their engagement happens since in the last two days of learning conferences, many students told me that they got their news through Snapchat. But neither Instagram nor Snapchat are where I have the interactions that I value.

This poses a serious challenge for teaching media literacy, but also for teaching the more traditional forms of text. With my Grade 9s, we have been reading and crafting memoirs. How does their construction of ephemeral memoirs on Snapchat and curated collections of memories on Instagram shape both how they write and see themselves?

Even though I understand how Snapchat works, I will never understand what it’s like to feel the draw of streaks or notifications. And with Instagram, I’m well past a point where I’m drawn to construct images that vie for hundreds of likes. I’m simply not shaped by these medias in the same way.

Beyond different medias, students really carry around different devices than I do, even though they may both be called iPhones. Few of them read the news on it or need to sift through work emails. But in both cases, these devices form the pathway to a public presentation of self, which is something that I struggle with on many levels. I’m happy to be out here in public intellectual mode sharing and criticizing ideas, and to reflect on my teaching and share what my students are doing, and to occasionally put out parts of my personal life, but I resent the way that platforms work to combine all of those roles into one public individual.

Just this morning, I received the most bizarre notification from my Apple Photos: “You Have a New Memory”. So, even in the relatively private space between my stored photos and my screen, algorithms give birth to new things I need to be made aware of. Notified. How I go about opting out of social media now seems like an easier challenge than figuring out how I withdraw from the asocial nudges that emerge from my own archives."
2017  benjamindoxtdator  instagram  twitter  facebook  algorithms  memory  memories  photography  presentationofself  apple  iphone  smartphones  technology  teaching  education  edtech  medialiteracy  engagement  snapchat  ephemerality  text  memoirs  notifications  likes  favorites  ephemeral 
october 2017 by robertogreco
James Ryan on Twitter: "Happenthing On Travel On (1975) is a novel that integrates prose, source code, computer-generated text, and glitch art, to rhetorical effect https://t.co/Ex9zItG3xt"
"Happenthing On Travel On (1975) is a novel that integrates prose, source code, computer-generated text, and glitch art, to rhetorical effect"

[via: https://twitter.com/tealtan/status/892523355794001920 ]

"instead of making exaggerated claims about the creative (or even collaborative) role of the computer, she describes it as an expressive tool"
https://twitter.com/xfoml/status/892169553806901249

"Carole Spearin McCauley should be better recognized as a major innovator in the early period of expressive computing"
https://twitter.com/xfoml/status/892170816623751168
novels  writing  computing  computers  prose  code  coding  computer-generatedtext  text  glitchart  1975  carolespearinmccauley  collaboration  cyborgs 
august 2017 by robertogreco
Doug Engelbart, transcontextualist | Gardner Writes
"I’ve been mulling over this next post for far too long, and the results will be brief and rushed (such bad food, and such small portions!). You have been warned.

The three strands, or claims I’m engaging with (EDIT: I’ve tried to make things clearer and more parallel in the list below):

1. The computer is “just a tool.” This part’s in partial response to the comments on my previous post. [http://www.gardnercampbell.net/blog1/?p=2158 ]

2. Doug Engelbart’s “Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework” [http://www.dougengelbart.org/pubs/augment-3906.html ] is “difficult to understand” or “poorly written.” This one’s a perpetual reply. 🙂 It was most recently triggered by an especially perplexing Twitter exchange shared with me by Jon Becker.

3. Engelbart’s ideas regarding the augmentation of human intellect aim for an inhuman and inhumane parsing of thought and imagination, an “efficiency expert” reduction of the richness of human cognition. This one tries to think about some points raised in the VCU New Media Seminar this fall.

These are the strands. The weave will be loose. (Food, textiles, textures, text.)

1. There is no such thing as “just a tool.” McLuhan wisely notes that tools are not inert things to be used by human beings, but extensions of human capabilities that redefine both the tool and the user. A “tooler” results, or perhaps a “tuser” (pronounced “TOO-zer”). I believe those two words are neologisms but I’ll leave the googling as an exercise for the tuser. The way I used to explain this is my new media classes was to ask students to imagine a hammer lying on the ground and a person standing above the hammer. The person picks up the hammer. What results? The usual answers are something like “a person with a hammer in his or her hand.” I don’t hold much with the elicit-a-wrong-answer-then-spring-the-right-one-on-them school of “Socratic” instruction, but in this case it was irresistible and I tried to make a game of it so folks would feel excited, not tricked. “No!” I would cry. “The result is a HammerHand!” This answer was particularly easy to imagine inside Second Life, where metaphors become real within the irreality of a virtual landscape. In fact, I first came up with the game while leading a class in Second Life–but that’s for another time.

So no “just a tool,” since a HammerHand is something quite different from a hammer or a hand, or a hammer in a hand. It’s one of those small but powerful points that can make one see the designed built world, a world full of builders and designers (i.e., human beings), as something much less inert and “external” than it might otherwise appear. It can also make one feel slightly deranged, perhaps usefully so, when one proceeds through the quotidian details (so-called) of a life full of tasks and taskings.

To complicate matters further, the computer is an unusual tool, a meta-tool, a machine that simulates any other machine, a universal machine with properties unlike any other machine. Earlier in the seminar this semester a sentence popped out of my mouth as we talked about one of the essays–“As We May Think”? I can’t remember now: “This is your brain on brain.” What Papert and Turkle refer to as computers’ “holding power” is not just the addictive cat videos (not that there’s anything wrong with that, I imagine), but something weirdly mindlike and reflective about the computer-human symbiosis. One of my goals continues to be to raise that uncanny holding power into a fuller (and freer) (and more metaphorical) (and more practical in the sense of able-to-be-practiced) mode of awareness so that we can be more mindful of the environment’s potential for good and, yes, for ill. (Some days, it seems to me that the “for ill” part is almost as poorly understood as the “for good” part, pace Morozov.)

George Dyson writes, “The stored-program computer, as conceived by Alan Turing and delivered by John von Neumann, broke the distinction between numbers that mean things and numbers that do things. Our universe would never be the same” (Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe). This is a very bold statement. I’ve connected it with everything from the myth of Orpheus to synaesthetic environments like the one @rovinglibrarian shared with me in which one can listen to, and visualize, Wikipedia being edited. Thought vectors in concept space, indeed. The closest analogies I can find are with language itself, particularly the phonetic alphabet.

The larger point is now at the ready: in fullest practice and perhaps even for best results, particularly when it comes to deeper learning, it may well be that nothing is just anything. Bateson describes the moment in which “just a” thing becomes far more than “just a” thing as a “double take.” For Bateson, the double take bears a thrilling and uneasy relationship to the double bind, as well as to some kinds of derangement that are not at all beneficial. (This is the double-edged sword of human intellect, a sword that sometimes has ten edges or more–but I digress.) This double take (the kids call it, or used to call it, “wait what?”) indicates a moment of what Bateson calls “transcontextualism,” a paradoxical level-crossing moment (micro to macro, instance to meta, territory to map, or vice-versa) that initiates or indicates (hard to tell) deeper learning.
It seems that both those whose life is enriched by transcontextual gifts and those who are impoverished by transcontextual confusions are alike in one respect: for them there is always or often a “double take.” A falling leaf, the greeting of a friend, or a “primrose by the river’s brim” is not “just that and nothing more.” Exogenous experience may be framed in the contexts of dream, and internal thought may be projected into the contexts of the external world. And so on. For all this, we seek a partial explanation in learning and experience. (“Double Bind, 1969,” in Steps to an Ecology of Mind, U Chicago Press, 2000, p. 272). (EDIT: I had originally typed “eternal world,” but Bateson writes “external.” It’s an interesting typo, though, so I remember it here.)


It does seem to me, very often, that we do our best to purge our learning environments of opportunities for transcontextual gifts to emerge. This is understandable, given how bad and indeed “unproductive” (by certain lights) the transcontextual confusions can be. No one enjoys the feeling of falling, unless there are environments and guides that can make the falling feel like flying–more matter for another conversation, and a difficult art indeed, and one that like all art has no guarantees (pace Madame Tussaud).

2. So now the second strand, regarding Engelbart’s “Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework.” Much of this essay, it seems to me, is about identifying and fostering transcontextualism (transcontextualization?) as a networked activity in which both the individual and the networked community recognize the potential for “bootstrapping” themselves into greater learning through the kind of level-crossing Bateson imagines (Douglas Hofstadter explores these ideas too, particularly in I Am A Strange Loop and, it appears, in a book Tom Woodward is exploring and brought to my attention yesterday, Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking. That title alone makes the recursive point very neatly). So when Engelbart switches modes from engineering-style-specification to the story of bricks-on-pens to the dialogue with “Joe,” he seems to me not to be willful or even prohibitively difficult (though some of the ideas are undeniably complex). He seems to me to be experimenting with transcontextualism as an expressive device, an analytical strategy, and a kind of self-directed learning, a true essay: an attempt:

And by “complex situations” we include the professional problems of diplomats, executives, social scientists, life scientists, physical scientists, attorneys, designers–whether the problem situation exists for twenty minutes or twenty years.

A list worthy of Walt Whitman, and one that explicitly (and for me, thrillingly) crosses levels and enacts transcontextualism.

Here’s another list, one in which Engelbart tallies the range of “thought kernels” he wants to track in his formulative thinking (one might also say, his “research”):

The “unit records” here, unlike those in the Memex example, are generally scraps of typed or handwritten text on IBM-card-sized edge-notchable cards. These represent little “kernels” of data, thought, fact, consideration, concepts, ideas, worries, etc. That are relevant to a given problem area in my professional life.

Again, the listing enacts a principle: we map a problem space, a sphere of inquiry, along many dimensions–or we should. Those dimensions cross contexts–or they should. To think about this in terms of language for a moment, Engelbart’s idea seems to be that we should track our “kernels” across the indicative, the imperative, the subjunctive, the interrogative. To put it another way, we should be mindful of, and somehow make available for mindful building, many varieties of cognitive activity, including affect (which can be distinguished but not divided from cognition).

3. I don’t think this activity increases efficiency, if efficiency means “getting more done in less time.” (A “cognitive Taylorism,” as one seminarian put it.) More what is always the question. For me, Engelbart’s transcontextual gifts (and I’ll concede that there are likely transcontextual confusions in there too–it’s the price of trancontextualism, clearly) are such that the emphasis lands squarely on effectiveness, which in his essay means more work with positive potential (understanding there’s some disagreement but not total disagreement about… [more]
dougengelbart  transcontextualism  gardnercampbell  2013  gregorybateson  marshallmcluhan  socraticmethod  education  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  learning  hammerhand  technology  computers  computing  georgedyson  food  textiles  texture  text  understanding  tools  secondlife  seymourpapert  sherryturkle  alanturing  johnvonneumann  doublebind  waltwhitman  memex  taylorism  efficiency  cognition  transcontextualization 
july 2017 by robertogreco
How Fonts Are Fueling the Culture Wars – Backchannel
"Typography is undergoing a public renaissance. Typography usually strives to be invisible, but recently it’s become a mark of sophistication for readers to notice it and have an opinion.

Suddenly, people outside of the design profession seem to care about its many intricacies. Usually, this awareness focuses on execution. This year’s Oscars put visual hierarchy on the map. XKCD readers will never miss an opportunity to point out bad keming. And anyone on the internet can tell you, Comic Sans has become a joke.

But by focusing on the smaller gaffes, we’re missing the big picture. Typography is much bigger than a “gotcha” moment for the visually challenged. Typography can silently influence: It can signify dangerous ideas, normalize dictatorships, and sever broken nations. In some cases it may be a matter of life and death. And it can do this as powerfully as the words it depicts.

***

Why We’re Afraid of Blackletter

You’ve seen blackletter typography before. It’s dense, old-fashioned, and elaborate. It almost always feels like an anachronism. It looks like this:

[image]

But usually when you see it in popular culture, it looks more like this:

[image]

Or like this:

[image]

You probably know blackletter as the script of choice for bad guys, prison tattoos, and black metal album art—and you wouldn’t be wrong.

Blackletter looks esoteric and illegible now, but it started off as a normal pattern that people across Europe used every day for hundreds of years. It stayed that way until pretty recently. It reigned as the dominant typeface in the English-speaking world for several generations, and remains popular in parts of the Spanish-speaking world today.

Why don’t we use blackletter anymore? The answer is literally “Hitler.” Nazi leadership used Fraktur, an archetypal variety of blackletter, as their official typeface. They positioned it as a symbol of German national identity and denounced papers that printed with anything else.

As you might imagine, the typeface hasn’t aged well in the post-war period. In just a few years, blackletter went from ordinary to a widespread taboo—the same way the name “Adolf” and the toothbrush mustache have been all but eradicated.

The Nazis played a part in this. In 1941, the regime re-characterized Fraktur as Judenletter, “Jewish letters,” and systematically banned it from use. The long history of Jewish writers and printers had tainted the letterforms themselves, they argued, and it was time for Germany to move on. Historians speculate that the reversal had more to do with the logistics of occupying countries reliant on Latin typefaces, but the result was the same. No printed matter of any kind could use Fraktur, for German audiences or abroad. Even blackletter handwriting was banned from being taught in school.

Think about that: The government of one of the world’s great powers banned a typeface. That is the power of a symbol.

***

It’s Hard to Text in Arabic

We take it for granted that we can type any word with a keyboard, but really, you should check your anglophone privilege. In English, each letter stands on its own, while Arabic connects every letter in a word, allowing many letters to take on new shapes based on context. Arabic lends itself to lush and poetic calligraphy, but it doesn’t square with traditional European methods for making typefaces.

Much of the Arab world fell under Western colonial rule, and print communication remained a challenge. Rather than rethinking or expanding the conventions that had been designed around the Latin alphabet, the colonial powers changed Arabic. What we see in books and newspapers to this day is a ghost of Arabic script, reworked to use discrete letters that behave on a standard printing press.

It’s not surprising that colonial powers would pull their subjects closer to their center of gravity. But even today, many Arab countries struggle with that legacy. There are over 100,000 ways to format a word in English; the Arabic world only has about 100 clunky typefaces to support communication between half a billion people.

Rana Abou Rjeily, a contemporary Lebanese designer, is reclaiming Arabic typography. After studying design in the US and UK, she developed Mirsaal, an experimental typeface to bridge the gap between Arabic and Latin text.

Mirsaal looks for the right balance of western conventions to make Arabic work in a modern context. It uses simplified, distinct letterforms, but with the goal of making written Arabic more expressive and authentic.

This isn’t a purely symbolic exercise. The Middle East is dealing with political instability that stems from deep cultural divisions. It is not hard to imagine how a more robust written language might play some role in making a better future.

***

Piecing Together the Balkans

The Balkans are synonymous with fragmentation. The region has seen generations of violence, much spurred by the ethnic tensions within. Their typography reflects these divisions. The regional languages are a hodgepodge of typographic spheres: Latin, Blackletter, Cyrillic, and Arabic. Never mind the locally designed Glagolitic scripts.

Typography took on special meaning during the Cold War, as Latin and Cyrillic alphabets came to symbolize allegiance to global powers.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, typography continues to communicate political leanings, be they nostalgia for the Soviet era or alignment with the globalized West. Using the wrong typeface could get you in a lot of trouble.

In 2013, Croatian designers Nikola Djurek and Marija Juza created the East-West hybrid Balkan Sans. Balkan Sans uses the same glyphs to represent the equivalent letters in Latin and Cyrillic alphabets. In the words of its makers, it “… demystifies, depoliticizes, and reconciles them for the sake of education, tolerance, and, above all, communication.”

Croatian and Serbian are similar languages that could hardly look more different in their written forms. Balkan Sans makes them mutually intelligible, so that two neighbors might be able to correspond over email without thinking twice. They transformed typography from a barrier between nations into an olive branch.

***

The Culture War at Home

The US is not so different from the rest of the world when it comes to tribalism and conflicted identity. This has crystalized in last few months, and we’ve seen typography play a substantial role.

Hillary Clinton ran for president with a slick logo befitting a Fortune 100 company. It had detractors, but I think we’ll remember it fondly as a symbol of what could have been — clarity, professionalism, and restraint.

Donald Trump countered with a garish baseball cap that looked like it had been designed in a Google Doc by the man himself. This proved to be an effective way of selling Trump’s unique brand.

I’m not interested in whether Clinton or Trump had good logos. I’m interested in the different values they reveal. Clinton’s typography embodies the spirit of modernism and enlightenment values. It was designed to appeal to smart, progressive people who like visual puns. They appreciate the serendipity of an arrow that completes a lettermark while also symbolizing progress. In other words, coastal elites who like “design.”
Trump’s typography speaks with a more primal, and seemingly earnest voice. “Make America Great Again” symbolizes “Make America Great Again.” It tells everyone what team you’re on, and what you believe in. Period. It speaks to a distrust of “clean” corporate aesthetics and snobs who think they’re better than Times New Roman on a baseball cap. Its mere existence is a political statement.

The two typographies are mutually intelligible at first glance, but a lot gets lost in translation. We live in a divided country, split on typographic lines as cleanly as the Serbs and the Croats.

***

I’d Like to Leave You With a Mission:

The next time you go shopping, download an app or send an email, take a second to look at the typography in front of you. Don’t evaluate it. Don’t critique it. Just observe it. What does it say about you? What does it say about the world you live in?

The stakes are higher than you think. The next generation of fascists will not love geometric sans serifs as much as Mussolini did. They won’t be threatening journalists in blackletter.

The world is changing around us. We constantly debate and analyze the conflicts between the militaries, governments and cultures that surround us. But there’s a visual war that’s happening right in front of our eyes, undetected. Its power — to divide us or bring us together — hinges on our choice to pay attention."
typography  arabic  history  2017  benhersh  ranaabourjeily  mussolini  politics  donaldtrump  hillaryclinton  design  graphicdesign  division  croatia  serbia  mirsaal  colonialism  decolonization  text  texting  technology  blackletter  adolfhitler 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Eight Theses Regarding Social Media | L.M. Sacasas
"1. Social media are the fidget spinners of the soul.

2. Each social media platform is a drug we self-prescribe and consume in order to regulate our emotional life, and we are constantly experimenting with the cocktail.

3. Law of Digital Relativity: Perception of space and time is relative to the digital density of the observer’s experience.

4. Affect overload is a more serious problem than information overload. The product of both is moral apathy and mental exhaustion.

5. While text and image flourish online, the psycho-dynamics of digital culture are most akin to those of oral cultures (per Walter Ong).

6. Just as the consumer economy was boundless in its power to commodify, so the attention economy is boundless in its power to render reality standing reserve for the project of identity construction/performance. The two processes, of course, are not unrelated.

7. In the attention economy, strategic silence is power. But, because of the above, it is also a deeply demanding practice of self-denial.

8. Virtue is self-forgetting. The structures of social media make it impossible to forget yourself."
michaelsacasas  2017  lmsacasas  socialmedia  virtue  forgetting  attention  attentioneconomy  economics  power  silence  self-denial  walterong  figeting  addiction  emotions  digitalrelativity  relativity  space  time  perception  experience  online  internet  affectoverload  apathy  exhaustion  infooverload  secondaryorality  oralcultures  images  text  commodification  identity  performance 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Spanish California on Twitter: "My god It just occurred to me. The “boy you can’t read tone in text” problem was solved almost two decades ago have u heard of emoji"
"My god

It just occurred to me. The “boy you can’t read tone in text” problem was solved almost two decades ago

have u heard of emoji

Get fluent in the cues emoji can carry, and you can re-tune a sentence to ensure it lands the way you felt it

This is the original human trick: symbolic communication

Turned up to a hundred. An emoji is an incredibly dense symbolic payload

And emoji rides circuits on a level distinct from a word

It’s so efficient, cognitively.

😏 I’m letting you in some shit

😒 what a jackass

symbols geometrically similar but with inverted expressions, perfectly tune the subsequent messages

Cheap to transmit, cheap to interpret

We’ve been doing this forever. But emoji standardizes a vocabulary, available to all skill levels. It raises the floor for expressiveness

Man there is revolutionary linguistic progress being constantly incubated on the Information Age. It gets lost in the noise, but it’s there

Fucking DICTIONARIES taking official, political positions, in their adherence to reality. Teaching as it critiques

Incredible

I know it’s scary as fuck right now. It is. That’s real

But the future is being born all around us. We’re not calibrated to predict impact

The one thing that is keeping up with the rapaciousness of capitalism? The proliferation of data, expertise, and automation components

It’s not going to be as it was.

People who came of age with broadband as a norm are about to fuck things up in desperately needed ways

I’ve seen what today’s teenagers are capable of. All the energy, zest and pain that comes with youth

And an implicit fluency in information

I’d be bullshitting if I said I had any idea what this will mean

But a generation of cultural super soldiers are about to take the field

That’s going to change the game

Sometimes in dangerous ways, I’m sure. But this time the game will happen on the most even footing ever

Information is the power of reality. It was once closely held by royalty and clergy

Now it’s $35 buys you a computer of some sort

VC chases tech dollars because of the incredible scale effects of networks

those same effects make it revolutionary cheap to get knowledge

Even more explosive still is how cheap it is to transmit knowledge. More people than ever are participating in the definition of reality

The nature of power is about to get freaky as it is shaped by these currents

It’s going to blow our minds

Takeaways:

–use emoji. They’re terrific and an incredible cultural gift

–information technology is going to shake everything up. Again

Just hold onto your asses. I don’t care who you are, there’s going to be some new comrades in the fray. Let’s be good to them"
emoji  danilocampos  2017  communication  writing  text  infomation  technology  emotions 
april 2017 by robertogreco
Will Self: Are humans evolving beyond the need to tell stories? | Books | The Guardian
"Neuroscientists who insist technology is changing our brains may have it wrong. What if we are switching from books to digital entertainment because of a change in our need to communicate?"



"A few years ago I gave a lecture in Oxford that was reprinted in the Guardian under the heading: “The novel is dead (this time it’s for real)”. In it I argued that the novel was losing its cultural centrality due to the digitisation of print: we are entering a new era, one with a radically different form of knowledge technology, and while those of us who have what Marshal McLuhan termed “Gutenberg minds” may find it hard to comprehend – such was our sense of the solidity of the literary world – without the necessity for the physical book itself, there’s no clear requirement for the art forms it gave rise to. I never actually argued that the novel was dead, nor that narrative itself was imperilled, yet whenever I discuss these matters with bookish folk they all exclaim: “But we need stories – people will always need stories.” As if that were an end to the matter.

Non-coincidentally, in line with this shift from print to digital there’s been an increase in the number of scientific studies of narrative forms and our cognitive responses to them. There’s a nice symmetry here: just as the technology arrives to convert the actual into the virtual, so other technologies arise, making it possible for us to look inside the brain and see its actual response to the virtual worlds we fabulate and confabulate. In truth, I find much of this research – which marries arty anxiety with techno-assuredness – to be self-serving, reflecting an ability to win the grants available for modish interdisciplinary studies, rather than some new physical paradigm with which to explain highly complex mental phenomena. Really, neuroscience has taken on the sexy mantle once draped round the shoulders of genetics. A few years ago, each day seemed to bring forth a new gene for this or that. Such “discoveries” rested on a very simplistic view of how the DNA of the human genotype is expressed in us poor, individual phenotypes – and I suspect many of the current discoveries, which link alterations in our highly plastic brains to cognitive functions we can observe using sophisticated equipment, will prove to be equally ill-founded.

The neuroscientist Susan Greenfield has been prominent in arguing that our new digital lives are profoundly altering the structure of our brains. This is undoubtedly the case – but then all human activities impact upon the individual brain as they’re happening; this by no means implies a permanent alteration, let alone a heritable one. After all, so far as we can tell the gross neural anatomy of the human has remained unchanged for hundreds of millennia, while the age of bi-directional digital media only properly dates – in my view – from the inception of wireless broadband in the early 2000s, hardly enough time for natural selection to get to work on the adaptive advantages of … tweeting. Nevertheless, pioneering studies have long since shown that licensed London cab drivers, who’ve completed the exhaustive “Knowledge” (which consists of memorising every street and notable building within a six mile radius of Charing Cross), have considerably enlarged posterior hippocampi.

This is the part of brain concerned with way-finding, but it’s also strongly implicated in memory formation; neuroscientists are now discovering that at the cognitive level all three abilities – memory, location, and narration – are intimately bound up. This, too, is hardly surprising: key for humans, throughout their long pre-history as hunter-gatherers, has been the ability to find food, remember where food is and tell the others about it. It’s strange, of course, to think of Pride and Prejudice or Ulysses as simply elaborations upon our biologically determined inclination to give people directions – but then it’s perhaps stranger still to realise that sustained use of satellite navigation, combined with absorbing all our narrative requirements in pictorial rather written form, may transform us into miserable and disoriented amnesiacs.

When he lectured on literature in the 1950s, Vladimir Nabokov would draw a map on the blackboard at the beginning of each session, depicting, for example, the floor plan of Austen’s Mansfield Park, or the “two ways” of Proust’s Combray. What Nabokov seems to have understood intuitively is what neuroscience is now proving: reading fiction enables a deeply memorable engagement with our sense of space and place. What the master was perhaps less aware of – because, as yet, this phenomenon was inchoate – was that throughout the 20th century the editing techniques employed in Hollywood films were being increasingly refined. This is the so-called “tyranny of film”: editing methods that compel our attention, rather than leaving us free to absorb the narrative in our own way. Anyone now in middle age will have an intuitive understanding of this: shots are shorter nowadays, and almost all transitions are effected by crosscutting, whereby two ongoing scenes are intercut in order to force upon the viewer the idea of their synchrony. It’s in large part this tyranny that makes contemporary films something of a headache for older viewers, to whom they can seem like a hypnotic swirl of action.

It will come as no surprise to Gutenberg minds to learn that reading is a better means of forming memory than watching films, as is listening to afternoon drama on Radio 4. This is the so-called “visualisation hypothesis” that proposes that people – and children in particular – find it harder not only to remember film as against spoken or written narratives, but also to come up with novel responses to them, because the amount of information they’re given, together with its determinate nature, forecloses imaginative response.

Almost all contemporary parents – and especially those of us who class themselves as “readers” – have engaged in the Great Battle of Screen: attempting to limit our children’s consumption of films, videos, computer games and phone-based social media. We feel intuitively that it can’t be doing our kids any good – they seem mentally distracted as well as physically fidgety: unable to concentrate as they often look from one handheld screen to a second freestanding one, alternating between tweezering some images on a touchscreen and manipulating others using a remote control. Far from admonishing my younger children to “read the classics” – an utterly forlorn hope – I often find myself simply wishing they’d put their phones down long enough to have their attention compelled by the film we’re watching.

If we take seriously the conclusions of these recent neuroscientific studies, one fact is indisputable: whatever the figures for books sales (either in print or digital form), reading for pleasure has been in serious decline for over a decade. That this form of narrative absorption (if you’ll forgive the coinage) is closely correlated with high attainment and wellbeing may tell us nothing about the underlying causation, but the studies do demonstrate that the suite of cognitive aptitudes needed to decipher text and turn it into living, breathing, visible and tangible worlds seem to wither away once we stop turning the pages and start goggling at virtual tales.

Of course, the sidelining of reading narrative (and along with it the semi-retirement of all those narrative forms we love) is small potatoes compared with the loss of our capacity for episodic memory: would we be quite so quick to post those fantastic holiday photographs on Facebook if we knew that in so doing we’d imperil our ability to recall unaided our walk along the perfect crescent of sand, and our first ecstatic kiss? You might’ve thought that as a novelist who depends on fully attuned Gutenberg minds to read his increasingly complex and confusing texts I’d be dismayed by this craven new couch-based world; and, as a novelist, I am.

I began writing my books on a manual typewriter at around the same time wireless broadband became ubiquitous, sensing it was inimical not only to the act of writing, but that of reading as well: a novel should be a self-contained and self-explanatory world (at least, that’s how the form has evolved), and it needs to be created in the same cognitive mode as it’s consumed: the writer hunkering down into his own episodic memories, and using his own canonical knowledge, while imagining all the things he’s describing, rather than Googling them to see what someone else thinks they look like. I also sense the decline in committed reading among the young that these studies claim: true, the number of those who’ve ever been inclined “to get up in the morning in the fullness of youth”, as Nietzsche so eloquently put it, “and open a book” has always been small; but then it’s worth recalling the sting in the tail of his remark: “now that’s what I call vicious”.

And there is something vicious about all that book learning, especially when it had to be done by rote. There’s something vicious as well about the baby boomer generation, which, not content to dominate the cultural landscape, also demands that everyone younger than us survey it in the same way. For the past five years I’ve been working on a trilogy of novels that aim to map the connections between technological change, warfare and human psychopathology, so obviously I’m attempting to respond to the zeitgeist using this increasingly obsolete art form. My view is that we’re deluded if we think new technologies come into existence because of clearly defined human objectives – let alone benevolent ones – and it’s this that should shape our response to them. No, the history of the 20th century – and now the 21st – is replete with examples of technologies that were developed purely in order to facilitate the killing of people at … [more]
willself  communication  digital  writing  howwewrite  entertainment  books  socialmedia  neuroscience  2016  marshallmcluhan  gutenbergminds  print  change  singularity  videogames  gaming  games  poetry  novels  susangreenfield  rote  rotelearning  twitter  knowledge  education  brain  wayfinding  memory  location  narration  navigation  vladimirnabokov  proust  janeausten  film  video  attention  editing  reading  howweread  visualizationhypothesis  visualization  text  imagery  images  cognition  literacy  multiliteracies  memories  nietzsche  booklearning  technology  mobile  phones  mentalillness  ptsd  humans  humanity  digitalmedia  richardbrautigan  narrative  storytelling 
november 2016 by robertogreco
a16z Podcast: The Meaning of Emoji 💚 🍴 🗿 – Andreessen Horowitz
"This podcast is all about emoji. But it’s really about how innovation really comes about — through the tension between standards vs. proprietary moves; the politics of time and place; and the economics of creativity, from making to funding … Beginning with a project on Kickstarter to crowd-translate Moby Dick entirely into emoji to getting dumplings into emoji form and ending with the Library of Congress and an “emoji-con”. So joining us for this conversation are former VP of Data at Kickstarter Fred Benenson (and the 👨 behind ‘Emoji Dick’) and former New York Times reporter and current Unicode emoji subcommittee member Jennifer 8. Lee (one of the 👩 behind the dumpling emoji).

So yes, this podcast is all about emoji. But it’s also about where emoji fits in the taxonomy of social communication — from emoticons to stickers — and why this matters, from making emotions machine-readable to being able to add “limbic” visual expression to our world of text. If emoji is a (very limited) language, what tradeoffs do we make for fewer degrees of freedom and greater ambiguity? How exactly does one then translate emoji (let alone translate something into emoji)? How do emoji work, both technically underneath the hood and in the (committee meeting) room where it happens? And finally, what happens as emoji becomes a means of personalized expression?

This a16z Podcast is all about emoji. We only wish it could be in emoji!"
emoji  open  openstandards  proprietarystandards  communication  translation  fredbenenson  jennifer8.lee  sonalchokshi  emopjidick  mobydick  unicode  apple  google  microsoft  android  twitter  meaning  standardization  technology  ambiguity  emoticons  text  reading  images  symbols  accessibility  selfies  stickers  chat  messaging  universality  uncannyvalley  snapchat  facebook  identity  race  moby-dick 
august 2016 by robertogreco
The Color Gradient Reader BeeLine Shows Promise for Speed and Attention in Reading - The Atlantic
"In the era of attention deficits, the new text will not be black and white."



"The colors in this text are rendered in a precise and strategic way, designed to help people read quickly and accurately.

The most important feature is that each line begins with a different color than the line above or below. As Matthew Schneps, director of the Laboratory for Visual Learning at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, explained it to me, the color gradients also pull our eyes long from one character to the next—and then from the end of one line to the beginning of the next, minimizing any chance of skipping lines or making anything less than an optimally efficient word-to-word or line-to-line transition.

Improving the ease and accuracy of the return sweep is a promising idea for readers of all skill levels. And yet it’s one that’s gone largely ignored in the milieu of media technologies. Today many of us read primarily on screens–and we have for years–yet most platforms have focused on using technology to attempt to recreate text as it appears in books (or in newspapers or magazines), instead of trying to create an optimal reading experience.

The format—black text on white lines of 12 to 15 words of equal size—is a relic of the way that books were most easily printed on early printing presses. It persists today out of tradition, not because of some innate tendency of the human brain to process information in this way.

Meanwhile, people who aren’t especially skilled at intake of text in the traditional format are systematically penalized. People who don’t read well in this one particular way tend to fall behind scholastically early in life. They might be told they’re not as bright as other people, or at least come to assume it. They might even be diagnosed with ADHD, dyslexia, or a learning disability, or overlooked as academically mediocre.

“The book format was effective, but not for everyone,” said Schneps. “This is not just technology that could help people who are struggling with reading; this is technology that could help a lot of people.”

* * *

Our minds are not as uniform as our text. We all take in information in different ways. Some people read more quickly and retain more information when lines are shorter, or when fonts are bolder, or in different colors. The color-gradient pattern above is rendered by a product called BeeLine, developed by armchair linguist Nick Lum. He got the idea after learning about the Stroop Effect, the famous phenomenon where it becomes difficult to read words like “yellow” and “red” when they are written in different colors. Lum thought, “What if instead of screwing people up, we tried to use color in a way that helps people?”

After he won the Stanford Social Entrepreneurship and Dell Education startup competitions with the idea in 2014, Lum took to developing the technology full time. So far, the response from people tends to be binary: for some it’s a shrug, but for others, particularly people with dyslexias, it’s like turning on a light bulb. As Lum describes it, people tell him “Holy cow, this is how everybody else reads.”

The idea has been well received by reading experts, too.

“Most of the academic research is figuring out entirely what your eyes are going to do on one line,” said psychologist and Microsoft researcher Kevin Larson. “That has been such a challenge that it's rare for anyone to pay much attention to what happens during that line return movement.”

At the University of Texas at Austin, Randolph Bias has studied the optimal length of lines of text for reading comprehension and speed. The two are generally at odds: Short lines make for a quick and accurate return (the movement is easier because it allows our eyes to take a greater downward angle than if the line were longer.) The downside is that because our brains process information during return sweeps, shorter lines don't afford us that time. We also don’t get to take full advantage of peripheral vision – which is key. (He cites this as the problem with Spritz, the reading technology where single words rapidly flash before a reader.)"



"The other big opportunity for the technology is in educational settings. Later this year, BeeLine will be rolling out in libraries across California, as part of a licensing partnership. This is how Lum sees the company growing. The basic Google Chrome extension and iPhone app are free. But large-scale licensing deals with platforms and institutions like school systems could be more lucrative—and make the option accessible to people who wouldn’t otherwise think to try reading in color.

In early experiments, some students do seem to benefit from the color gradients. Last year, first-grade students in two general-education classrooms in San Bernardino, California, tried out Beeline, and many did better with comprehension tests afterword. “Because of my background in visual processing, I immediately wanted to check it out,” said Michael Dominguez, an applied behavioral analyst who directs the San Bernardino school district’s special education program. “Based on everything I know, it should work great.”"

[See also (referenced in the article):
http://www.beelinereader.com/
https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/ie/2014/03/04/introducing-reading-view-in-ie-11/ ]
howweread  reading  dyslexia  education  cyborgs  adhd  color  text  jameshamblin  kevinlarson  via:ayjay  michaeldominguez  beeline  chrome  browser  browsers  extensions  accessibility  assistivetechnology  microsoft  attention  technology  edtech  nicklum  linguistics  randolphbias  spritz  ereading  kindle  pdfs  epub  pdf 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Facebook is wrong, text is deathless
"It's a throwaway line in a longer talk and we probably shouldn't make too much of it, but I will anyway.
In five years time Facebook "will be definitely mobile, it will be probably all video," said Nicola Mendelsohn, who heads up Facebook's operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, at a conference in London this morning. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, has already noted that video will be more and more important for the platform. But Mendelsohn went further, suggesting that stats showed the written word becoming all but obsolete, replaced by moving images and speech.

"The best way to tell stories in this world, where so much information is coming at us, actually is video," Mendelsohn said. "It conveys so much more information in a much quicker period. So actually the trend helps us to digest much more information."

Maybe this is coming from deep within the literacy bubble, but:

Text is surprisingly resilient. It's cheap, it's flexible, it's discreet. Human brains process it absurdly well considering there's nothing really built-in for it. Plenty of people can deal with text better than they can spoken language, whether as a matter of preference or necessity. And it's endlessly computable -- you can search it, code it. You can use text to make it do other things.

In short, all of the same technological advances that enable more and more video, audio, and immersive VR entertainment also enable more and more text. We will see more of all of them as the technological bottlenecks open up.

And text itself will get weirder, its properties less distinct, as it reflects new assumptions and possibilities borrowed from other tech and media. It already has! Text can be real-time, text can be ephemeral -- text has taken on almost all of the attributes we always used to distinguish speech, but it's still remained text. It's still visual characters registered by the eye standing in for (and shaping its own) language.

Because nothing has proved as invincible as writing and literacy. Because text is just so malleable. Because it fits into any container we put it in. Because our world is supersaturated in it, indoors and out. Because we have so much invested in it. Because nothing we have ever made has ever rewarded our universal investment in it more. Unless our civilization fundamentally collapses, we will never give up writing and reading.

We're still not even talking to our computers as often as we're typing on our phones. What logs the most attention-hours -- i.e., how media companies make their money -- is not and has never been the universe of communications.

(And my god -- the very best feature Facebook Video has, what's helping that platform eat the world -- is muted autoplay video with automatic text captions. Forget literature -- even the stupid viral videos people watch waiting for the train are better when they're made with text!)

Nothing is inevitable in history, media, or culture -- but literacy is the only thing that's even close. Bet for better video, bet for better speech, bet for better things we can't imagine -- but if you bet against text, you will lose."
facebook  internet  text  literacy  timcarmody  2016  video  media  culture  history  future  communication 
june 2016 by robertogreco
The Emoji Is the Birth of a New Type of Language (👈 No Joke) | WIRED
"Tyler Schnoebelen has discovered something curious about why people use the skull emoji. Schnoebelen is a linguist and the chief analyst for Idibon, a firm that interprets linguistic data. So recently he got interested in emoji. He analyzed a million social media posts containing those familiar little pictograms and found that when people talk about their phones they’re 11 times more likely to use the skull.

Fully 92 percent of all people online use emoji now, and one-third of them do so daily.

Weird, right? But Schnoebelen thinks it makes sense. Our phones, he points out, are social lifelines, and when they malfunction—a weak signal, short battery life—we’re distraught. “When you don’t have access to your phone, or when nobody’s texting you, you’re socially dead,” he says. So we reach for an emoji that’s pregnant with that metaphor: the skull.

Fully 92 percent of all people online use emoji now, and one-third of them do so daily. On Instagram, nearly half of the posts contain emoji, a trend that began in 2011 when iOS added an emoji keyboard. Rates soared higher when Android followed suit two years later. Emoji are so popular they’re killing off netspeak. The more we use 😊, the less we use LOL and OMG.

In essence, we’re watching the birth of a new type of language. Emoji assist in a peculiarly modern task: conveying emotional nuance in short, online utterances. “They’re trying to solve one of the big problems of writing online, which is that you have the words but you don’t have the tone of voice,” as my friend Gretchen McCulloch, a linguist and author, says.

Purists sniff. What have we become, children with crayons? Surely words alone can convey emotional tone? Maybe—if you’re a novelist with years of experience in the patient forging and editing of prose, McCulloch says. But we thumbfolk are writing speedily and conversationally, in bursts on SMS or Facebook. Of the 20 most frequently used emoji, nearly all are hearts, smilies, or hand gestures—the ones that emote. In an age of rapid chatter, emoji prevent miscommunication by adding an emotional tenor to cold copy.

We also use emoji to convey a sort of ambient presence, when words aren’t appropriate. Ryan Kelly, a computer scientist at the University of Bath, has found that when texters finish a conversation, they often trade a few emoji as nonverbal denouement. “You might not have anything else left to say,” Kelly says, “but you want to let the person know that you’re thinking of them.” So you send a couple of pandas. Or telescopes! Or some other symbol that seems witty. This is another aspect of emoji—many are open-ended. You’d think that would make them less language-like, but in fact friends use that malleability to invest specific emoji with their own private meanings. (My wife and I use the Easter Island head to connote absurdity.)

Indeed, people are even developing syntax and rules of use for emoji. Schnoebelen found that when we use face emoji, we tend to put them before other objects. If you text about a late flight, you’ll put an unhappy face followed by a plane, not the reverse. In linguistic terms, this is called conveying “stance.” Just as with in-person talk, the expression illustrates our stance before we’ve spoken a word.

All you social dystopians can unclutch your pearls; no linguist thinks this bodes the end of writing. Text is our most powerful, go-to communication tool. For most people, these ideograms are an upgrade. And what an unusual one! Language always changes, of course; slang is born, prances, and dies. But it’s exceedingly rare—maybe unprecedented—for a phonetic alphabet to suddenly acquire a big expansion pack of ideograms. In an age where we write more than ever, emoji is the new language of the heart."
emoji  clivethomspn  2016  english  language  tylerschnoebelen  text  communication 
may 2016 by robertogreco
From A Pedagogy for Liberation to Liberation from Pedagogy [.pdf]
Gustavo Esteva
Madhu S. Prakash
Dana L. Stuchul

"At the end of his life, Freire wrote a short book, Pedagogía de la autonomía. (Freire, 1997) In it, he offers a meditation on his life and work, while returning to his most important themes. Freire reminds us that his education, his pedagogy, is pointedly and purposively ideological and interventionist. It requires mediators. Here again, it addresses those mediators: a final call to involve them in the crusade.
The leitmotiv of the book, the thread woven through every page as it occurred everyday in the life of Freire, is the affirmation of the universal ethic of the human being --- universal love as an ontological vocation. He recognizes its historical character. And he reminds us that it is not any ethic: it is the ethic of human solidarity. (Freire, 1996, p.124) Freire promotes a policy of human development, privileging men and humans, rather than profit. (Freire, 1996, p.125) He proclaims solidarity as a historical commitment of men and women, as one of the forms of struggle capable of promoting and instilling the universal ethic of the human being. (Freire, 1997, p.13)

Similar to liberation theology (an option for the poor) courageously adopted by an important sector of the Catholic Church in Latin America, Freire finds a foundation and a destiny for his theory and practice in the ideal of solidarity. Solidarity expresses an historical commitment based on a universal ethics. Solidarity legitimizes intervention in the lives of others in order to conscienticize them. Derived from charity, caritas, the Greek and Latin word for love, and motivated by care, by benevolence, by love for the other, conscientization becomes a universal, ethical imperative.

Certainly, Freire was fully aware of the nature of modern aid; of what he called false generosity. He identified clearly the disabling and damaging impact of all kinds of such aid. Yet, for all of his clarity and awareness, he is unable to focus his critique on service: particularly that service provided by service professionals. Freire's specific blindness is an inability to identify the false premises and dubious interventions --- in the name of care --- of one specific class of service professionals: educators.

In its modern institutional form, qua service, care is the mask of love. This mask is not a false face. The modernized service-provider believes in his care and love, perhaps more than even the serviced. The mask is the face. (McKnight, 1977, p.73) Yet, the mask of care and love obscure the economic nature of service, the economic interests behind it. Even worse, this mask hides the disabling nature of service professions, like education.

All of the caring, disabling professions are based on the assumption or presupposition of a lack, a deficiency, a need, that the professional service can best satisfy. The very modern creation of the needy man, a product of economic society, of capitalism, and the very mechanism through which needs are systematically produced in the economic society, are hidden behind the idea of service. Once the need is identified, the necessity of service becomes evident. It is a mechanism analogous to the one used by an expert to transmogrify a situation into a "problem" whose solution --- usually including his own services --- he proposes.

In this way, Freire constructed the human need for the conscience he conceived. In attributing such need to his oppressed, he also constructed the process to satisfy it: conscientization. Thus, the process reifies the need and the outcome: only conscientization can address the need for an improved conscience and consciousness and only education can deliver conscientization. This educational servicing of the oppressed, however, is masked: as care, love, vocation, historical commitment, as an expression of Freire's universal ethic of solidarity. Freire's blindness is his inability to perceive the disabling effect of his various activities or strategies of conscientization. He seems unaware that the business of modern society is service and that social service in modern society is business. (McKnight, 1997, p.69) Today, economic powers like the USA pride themselves in being post-industrial: that is, the replacement of smoke stacks and sweatshops moved to the South, with an economy retooled for global supremacy in providing service. With ever increasing needs, satisfaction of these needs requires more service resulting in unlimited economic growth.

Freire was also unaware that solidarity, both the word and the idea, are today the new mask of aid and development, of care and love. For example, in the 1990s, the neoliberal government of Mexican president Carlos Salinas used a good portion of the funds obtained through privatization to implement the Programa Nacional de Solidaridad. The program was celebrated by the World Bank as the best social program in the world. It is now well documented that, like all other wars against poverty, it was basically a war waged against the poor, widening and deepening the condition it was supposed to cure, a condition that, in the first place, was aggravated by the policies associated with the neoliberal credo.

Freire could not perceive the corruption of love through caring, through service. Furthermore, he was unable to perceive that the very foundation of his own notion of universal, globalized love, God's love for his children through Christ, is also a corruption of Christianity. (Cayley, 2000)

Freire was particularly unable to perceive the impact of the corruption which occurs when the oppressed are transformed into the objects of service: as clients, beneficiaries, and customers. Having created a radical separation between his oppressed and their educators, Freire was unsuccessful in bringing them together, despite all his attempts to do so through his dialogue, his deep literacy --- key words for empowerment and participation. All these pedagogical and curricular tools of education prove themselves repeatedly to be counterproductive: they produce the opposite of what they pretend to create. Instead of liberation, they add to the lives of oppressed clients, more chains and more dependency on the pedagogy and curricula of the mediator.iii.

During the last several centuries, all kinds of agents have pretended to "liberate" pagans, savages, natives, the oppressed, the under-developed, the uneducated, under-educated, and the illiterate in the name of the Cross, civilization (i.e. Westernization), capitalism or socialism, human rights, democracy, a universal ethic, progress or any other banner of development. Every time the mediator conceptualizes the category or class of the oppressed in his/her own terms, with his/her own ideology, he is morally obligated to evangelize: to promote among them, for their own good, the kind of transformation he or she defines as liberation. Yet, a specific blindness seems to be the common denominator among these mediators: an awareness of their own oppression. In assuming that they have succeeded in reaching an advanced level or stage of awareness, conscience, or even liberation (at least in theory, in imagination, in dreams), and in assuming, even more, that what their oppressed lack is this specific notion or stage, they assume and legitimate their own role as liberators. Herein, they betray their intentions.

In response to colonization, Yvonne Dion-Buffalo and John Mohawk recently suggested that colonized peoples have three choices: 1) to become good subjects, accepting the premises of the modern West without much question, 2) to become bad subjects, always resisting the parameters of the colonizing world, or 3) to become non-subjects, acting and thinking in ways far removed from those of the modern West. (Quoted in Esteva and Prakash, 1998, p.45)"



"In his denunciation of the discrimination suffered by the illiterate, Freire does not see, smell, imagine or perceive the differential reality of the oral world. While aspiring to eliminate all these forms of discrimination from the planet, he takes for granted, without more critical consideration, that reading and writing are fundamental basic needs for all humans. And, he embraces the implications of such assumptions: that the illiterate person is not a full human being.

Freire's pedagogic method requires that literacy should be rooted in the socio- political context of the illiterate. He is convinced that in and through such a process, they would acquire a critical judgement about the society in which they suffer oppression. But he does not take into account any critical consideration of the oppressive and alienating character implicit in the tool itself, the alphabet. He can not bring his reflection and practice to the point in which it is possible, like with many other modern tools, to establish clear limits to the alphabet in order to create the conditions for the oppressed to critically use the alphabet instead of being used by it."



"IV. Resisting Love: The Case Against Education

Freire's central presupposition: that education is a universal good, part and parcel of the human condition, was never questioned, in spite of the fact that he was personally exposed, for a long time, to an alternative view. This seems to us at least strange, if not abhorrent.
Freire was explicitly interested in the oppressed. His entire life and work were presented as a vocation committed to assuming their view, their interests. Yet, he ignored the plain fact that for the oppressed, the social majorities of the world, education has become one of the most humiliating and disabling components of their oppression: perhaps, even the very worst.



"For clarifying the issues of this essay, we chose to reflect on the life, the work, and the teachings of Gandhi, Subcommandante Marcos and Wendell Berry. Purposely, we juxtapose them to exacerbate their radical and dramatic differences. Is it absurd to even place them under the umbrella of public and private virtues we dwell on as we … [more]
gustavoesteva  madhuprakash  danastuchul  liberation  pedagogy  pedagogyoftheoppressed  wendellberry  solidarity  care  love  caring  carlossalinas  neoliberalism  teaching  howweteach  education  conscientization  liberationtheology  charity  service  servicelearning  economics  oppression  capitalism  mediators  leadership  evangelization  yvonnedion-buffalo  johnmohawk  legibility  decolonization  colonialism  karlmarx  ivanillich  technology  literacy  illegibility  bankingeducation  oraltradition  plato  text  writing  memory  communication  justice  modernism  class  inequality  humility  zapatistas  comandantemarcos  parochialism  globalphilia  resistance  canon  gandhi  grassroots  hope  individuality  newness  sophistication  specialization  professionalization  dislocation  evolution  careerism  alienation  self-knowledge  schooling  schools  progress  power  victimization  slow  small 
may 2016 by robertogreco
Boris Anthony on Instagram: “I hate linear narratives. My life, and mind, is made of hyper dimensional networks.”
"I hate linear narratives. My life, and mind, is made of hyper dimensional networks. And yet ALL out media is still linear. Text, video, audio, slide decks… The tyranny of a belief in linear time. But you know what isn't linear? Culture, high-context conversation, the Web…"
linear  linearity  borisanthony  howwethink  cv  texts  text  video  audio  slidedecks  time  tyranny  hyperdimensional  hypertext  reading  howweread  thinking  narrative  culture  conversation 
february 2016 by robertogreco
English 508 (Spring 2016)
[See also: https://jentery.github.io/508/notes.html ]

[From the description page:
https://jentery.github.io/508/description.html

"In both theory and practice, this seminar brushes against four popular assumptions about digital humanities: 1) as a service to researchers, the field merely develops digital resources for online discovery and builds computational tools for end-users; it does not interpret texts or meaningfully engage with “pre-digital” traditions in literary and cultural criticism; 2) digital humanities is not concerned with the literary or aesthetic character of texts; it is a techno-solutionist byproduct of instrumentalism and big data; 3) digital humanities practitioners replace cultural perspectives with uncritical computer vision; instead of privileging irony or ambivalence, they use computers to “prove” reductive claims about literature and culture, usually through graphs and totalizing visualizations; and 4) to participate in the field, you must be fluent in computer programming, or at least be willing to treat literature and culture quantitatively; if you are not a programmer, then you are not doing digital humanities.

During our seminar meetings, we will counter these four assumptions by examining, historicizing, and creating “design fictions,” which Bruce Sterling defines as “the deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change.” Design fictions typically have a futurist bent to them. They speculate about bleeding edge technologies and emerging dynamics, or they project whiz-bang worlds seemingly ripped from films such as Minority Report. But we’ll refrain from much futurism. Instead, we will use technologies to look backwards and prototype versions of texts that facilitate interpretative practice. Inspired by Kari Kraus’s conjectural criticism, Fred Moten’s second iconicity, Bethany Nowviskie and Johanna Drucker’s speculative computing, Karen Barad’s notion of diffraction, Jeffrey Schnapp’s small data, Anne Balsamo’s hermeneutic reverse-engineering, and deformations by Lisa Samuels, Jerome McGann, and Mark Sample, we will conduct “what if” analyses of texts already at hand, in electronic format (e.g., page images in a library’s digital collections).

Doing so will involve something peculiar: interpreting our primary sources by altering them. We’ll substitute words, change formats, rearrange poems, remediate fictions, juxtapose images, bend texts, and reconstitute book arts. To be sure, such approaches have vexed legacies in the arts and humanities. Consider cut-ups, constrained writing, story-making machines, exquisite corpses, remixes, tactical media, Fluxkits, or détournement. Today, these avant-garde traditions are ubiquitous in a banal or depoliticized form, the default features of algorithmic culture and social networks. But we will refresh them, with a difference, by integrating our alterations into criticism and prompting questions about the composition of art and history today.

Instructor: Jentery Sayers
Office Hours: Monday, 12-2pm, in CLE D334
Email: jentery@uvic.ca
Office Phone (in CLE D334): 250-721-7274 (I'm more responsive by email)
Mailing Address: Department of English | UVic | P.O. Box 3070, STN CSC | Victoria, BC V8W 3W1

Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it. —Karl Marx"]

[via: "when humanities start doing design without designers because design's too self-absorbed to notice being appropriated"
https://twitter.com/camerontw/status/700175377197563904
includes screenshot of Week 7 note from https://jentery.github.io/508/notes.html ]
jenterysayers  text  prototyping  digitalhumanities  speculativedesign  design  english  syllabus  maryanncaws  johannadrucker  wjtmitchell  jeffreyschnapp  evekosofskysedgwick  technosolutionism  brucesterling  fredmoten  karenbarad  jeromemcgann  marksample  bethanynowviskie  fluxkits  detournement  poetry  exquisitecorpses  algorithms  art  composition  rosamenkman  anthonydunne  fionaraby  dunne&raby  syllabi 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Hypertext for all | A Working Library
"These rococo days of the web have been sadly lost to capricious corporate owners, and newer platforms almost seem to have recoiled from them. (I could write a whole other letter about the neutered minimalism common on a lot of platforms today, but I digress.) But I think that history is telling: in that, given a canvas on which to play, many people opted to express themselves with color and image, often spending much more effort there then on the words, and often in surprising ways.

So, I’ll ask again, is hypertext just the text? Are images, styles, video, fonts, and the like always subsidiary?

There’s an old saw about the web that says that when the web democratized publishing, everyone should have become a writer, but instead most of us became consumers. (Nevermind that email and SMS have most people writing more in a day than their Victorian ancestors wrote in their entire lives.) There’s more than a hint of disparagement and elitism in that saying: everyone should have taken up writing, which is obviously superior to reading or watching or (gasp!) consuming. And I worry that that same sentiment creeps in when we argue the supremacy of text over image on the web. Writing is an important and valuable skill, but so are many other things.

Here’s another way to think about it: over the past year, video after video has emerged showing cops shooting unarmed black people. Those videos have been shared on the web, and while they haven’t yet led to anything resembling justice for the victims, they have contributed to profound discussions around race, militarized police forces, guns, and more. They are not sufficient to bring about desperately needed social change—and there’s an argument to be made about whether they are at risk of becoming mere spectacle—but I think it would be hard to deny that they are an important element in the movement, that they have had a major impact.

You can describe what happens in each of those videos in words, but those words will never equal watching them. The words “Tamir Rice was shot two seconds after the police car pulled up” are wrenching, but not nearly as much as watching him fall to the ground as the car continues to roll. The words “Tamir Rice was twelve years old” are not as heart stoppable as seeing a photo of him. I am saying this as someone who believes in words, who spends more time with words than with pictures, who is more often moved by words than by images. But sometimes the power of an image dwarfs that of words. Even I have to admit that.

I worry that the push to keep the web defined to words, while pragmatic and reasonable in many ways, may also be used to decide what stories get told, and what stories are heard. Many more people are using their tiny computers to record video and audio and take pictures than are writing; as much as I may love writing, and as much as I know that transmitting writing via cables and air is a hell of a lot easier and cheaper than transmitting video, I’m not sure I can really stand here and say that the writing is—or should be—primary.

One of the design principles of the web is to pave the cowpaths: it looks to me like there are some new paths opening up, ones we may not have expected, ones that aren’t going to make many of our jobs easier. Maybe instead of putting up signs saying there are better paths elsewhere, it’s time we see where these ones take us."

[Noted here: https://twitter.com/rogre/status/683849479385001984 ]
mandybrown  2016  web  hypertext  maciejceglowski  geocities  myspace  webrococo  waybackmachine  pinboard  javascript  webdesign  webdev  images  multiliteracies  video  flash  zefrank  design  writing  text  words  language  listening  elitism  typography  tools  onlinetoolkit  democacy  activism  maciejcegłowski 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Reverting to Type: A Reader’s Story |
"It did become my thing. I transferred to what we thought of as the University of Alabama, the one in Tuscaloosa, largely because it had a better English department. I double-majored in English and history, and at some point decided — what considerations went into the decision I no longer remember — that I wanted to go to graduate school to study more literature. So I attended the University of Virginia. I developed a historical sense — my love for Browne’s prose led me to spend most of my time in the seventeenth century, until a relatively late encounter with the poetry of W. H. Auden made a modernist of me — amassed a repertoire of critical gestures, learned to invoke the names and terms of High Theory in the proper ways and at the proper times. I was initiated into the academic guild; I became a professor.

It wasn’t always easy, of course. In my last weeks as an undergraduate one of my professors had taken me aside and whispered to me the sacred names of Barthes and Derrida, and told me I should make fuller acquaintance with them. I dutifully wrote down the names and immediately forgot about them. Since none of this Theory stuff had previously been mentioned to me in my undergraduate career, how important could it be? So when I plunged into my first graduate classes — including a theoretical survey in which we read Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Jung, Gramsci, Georg Lukács, Horkheimer and Adorno, Husserl, Heidegger, Ricoeur, Jakobson, Althusser, Brooks, Frye, de Beauvoir, Kenneth Burke, and, yes, Barthes and Derrida, among others — I was immediately transformed from a confident critic-in-the-making to a lost lamb, baahing reproachfully, petulantly.

Ten weeks or so into my first semester I decided that I just couldn’t cut it and needed to drop out. But I was a newlywed, and had carried my bride hundreds of miles from her family, set her down in a strange town, and effectively forced her to hunt for compartatively menial jobs, all to support this great academic endeavor of mine. I couldn’t bring myself to tell her how miserable and incompetent and just plain lost I was.

Our apartment in Charlottesville had a small windowless room that I used for a study. One evening after dinner I went in and closed the door and tried to sort through the vast pile of photocopied theoretical essays I had bought at Kinko’s on the first day of class. (We could violate copyright in those days, too.) But it was useless. I could scarcely bear even to look at the stuff. My professor had copied from his own well-used books, and every essay was full of confident underlinings and annotations that seemed by their very presence to judge me and find me wanting. I couldn’t bring myself to read another word.

My eyes wandered to a nearby bookshelf, and were caught for a moment by the glit of a gold cardboard box: it contained the three volumes of the Ballantine mass-market version of The Lord of the Rings. I had never read Tolkien: I was a science-fiction guy, not a fantasy guy. But of course I knew that The Trilogy (as I thought of it) was important, and that someday I ought to get to it. Almost thoughtlessly, I picked up the first volume and began to read.

When bedtime rolled around I set the book down and emerged from the sanctuary. “How’d it go tonight?” Teri asked.

I said, “It went well.”

The next evening I re-entered the study, under the pretense of continuing my academic labors with all due seriousness, and picked up where I had left off in the story. For the next week or so, though during the days I went to classes and did generally what I was supposed to do, I did none of the reading or writing I was assigned. I got further and further behind. I didn’t care; I was somewhere else and glad to be somewhere else. Teri seemed pleased with my scholarly discipline, as each evening I washed the dishes, gave her a kiss, and closed the study door behind me.

When I finished The Lord of the Rings I drew a deep breath. I felt more sound and whole than I had felt in weeks, maybe months. But, to my own surprise, I did not conclude that all that academic crap was a waste of time and I should do something else with my life, something that gave me time to read lots of fantasy novels. Instead, I experienced a strange refreshment, almost an exhilaration. My confusion and frustration seemed like small afflictions, conquerable adversaries. Barthes and Derrida weren’t so fearsome after all. I could do this.

I don’t believe that I was thinking, “Literary theory is as nothing in comparison to the power of Mordor!” Or, “If Frodo can carry that Ring to the Cracks of Doom I can write this paper on Paul Ricoeur!” Rather, I was just benefiting from spending some time away from my anxieties. We had been too intimate and needed separation. So I resumed my studies in a far better frame of mind; as a result, I did better work. I completed my doctorate and began my career as a teacher, but I didn’t forget the debt I owed to that week I spent in Tolkien’s world."



"In a sense I am only talking here about expanding my repertoire of analogies, my ability to make illuminating and meaningful comparisons. For many years now Douglas Hofstadter, drawing on the work of the mathematician Stanislaw Ulam, has been convinced that the secret to creating artificial intelligence lies in teaching machines to recognize analogies. (Ulam says somewhere that it’s all about “as”: we see marks on a piece of wood pulp as a portrait of a beloved child, a cairn of stones as a monument to a dead chieftain.) Similar principles underlie the methods of Google Translate, which collects an enormous corpus of sentences and then tries to match your input to something in that corpus, and Apple’s “digital personal assistant,” Siri. Siri can’t parse what you say to her unless she can connect to the network, which undertakes a comparison of your utterance to other utterances on record. All this might be called brute-force analogizing, but it seems to me that my own understanding develops as I pursue the same method, though with far less force and (I hope) less brutishness.

In one of his most beautiful poems, Richard Wilbur writes, “Odd that a thing is most itself when likened.” And this is true no matter the thing: a book becomes more fully itself when we see both how it resembles and how is differs from other books; one discipline of study takes on its proper hues only when we see its relations to other disciplines that stand close to it or very far away. My repertoire of analogies is my toolbox, or my console of instruments, by which I comprehend and navigate the world. It can’t be too large; every addition helps, at least a bit. And that’s why I’m thankful for my gradual recovery of the books I adored, and thoughts I lovingly entertained, when I was forty years younger."
alanjacobs  howweread  reading  2015  analogies  metaphor  text  pleasurereading  richardwilbur  harukimurukami  jrrtolkein  thelordoftherings  stainslawulam  loreneisley  sciencefiction  understanding  literarycriticism  genrefiction  fiction  literature  academia  writing  howwewrite  howwelearn  books  jacquesderrida  rolandbarthes  whauden  sirthomasbrowne  williamfaulkner  nealstephenson  joycecaroloates  twocultures  cpsnow  jamesgleick  linux  learning  canon  digressions  amateurism  dabbling  listening  communication  howweteach  teaching  education  silos 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Why I Believe in Text — Thoughts on Media — Medium
"The next step is to have publishing and blogging platforms introduce “medium form” structures. Formats like Medium’s responses help you get your point across in faster and more lightweight manner. There has yet to be a widely adopted writing format that is medium form, under 2500 characters, can be read under 5 minutes, and designed with constraints for brevity. I see great potential for fast, medium-length, text sharing on the web. The format can be written in an abstract form where the user is constrained by a character limit under 2500 (approximately three paragraphs). Constraints in writing structure can breed innovation and concision. It also solves the blank canvas problem where people are intimidated by a never ending blank text editor.

Gone are the days of 10 minute long reads like http://longform.org/. People are producing and consuming content in shorter, quippier, digestable ways (listicles, Buzzfeed, Twitter, theSkimm etc). As a writer, I find this paradigm shift towards short form text both fascinating and scary. The scroll can be your friend when you write long prose (Source: Michael Sippey). Now people just stop scrolling when your content doesn’t catch their attention in the first 30 seconds.

The market for text is larger than ever

People are still reading and producing text more than ever. Facebook, Messenger, Whatsapp, and iMessage indicate that the demand for text in messaging and commenting is exponentially increasing. People are just writing and consuming text in different ways.

For a social network to cater to as many people’s needs as possible it needs to provide a spectrum of sharing as diagramed above. No one sharing format can perfectly capture one person’s identity or needs. There is an amalgamation of personas within social networks. Snapchat is for fast, casual sharing in real time; Instagram is for beautiful images + text to capture your best moments; Notes and Medium are for deeper and richer storytelling when you want to get your points across. For a healthy sharing ecosystem you need a wide spectrum of sharing from lightweight to heavyweight richer storytelling.

Christiana and I broke down the sharing ecosystem by content types and depth of expression. Depth of expression is how much emotional content you can convey in one post. As you progress to the right of the spectrum the content format becomes more meaningful and deeper in expression due to a combination of text and multimedia stories. When I see a singular check-in or Snapchat, I get a glimmer of a person. When I read a note or Medium post, I feel connected to that person and know how they think.

The future of writing is going to be Text+

Text’s linguistic sentence structure adds unique organization to other media. When it comes down to telling a story in visual, video, or written form it is all about flow and organization. The ability to communicate with simple words to complex sentence structures to paragraphs offer an unique advantage for text to be a flexible and modular media that organizes photos and videos into a multimedia story.
Text is the most flexible communication technology. Pictures may be worth a thousand words, when there’s a picture to match what you’re trying to say.
— Always Bet on Text [https://graydon2.dreamwidth.org/193447.html ]

The future of text is going to be text+ (text + multimedia e.g. photos, videos, gifs, podcasts etc). In a mobile first world coupled with our shrinking attention span, readers and users want text+ for a faster, more immersive, gratifying consumption experience. Multimedia stories are the future of text. For rich storytelling to have the fast consumption of videos and it photos, it also needs to be interwoven with the depth and organization of text. It’s not going to be enough for Medium to be just text + photos. The Atatvist Mag does a great job embedding rich media into longform content. Now anyone can generate Pulitzer-winning content on par with “Snowfall”, which is powerful. The Atavist is democratizing high brow publishing to the masses. You don’t need programmers or photo editors anymore to produce high quality long form content. Publishing platforms like Facebook Notes, Medium, and the Atavist empower anyone to generate publisher-par content.

Text Conveys Emotional Depth

I question a world and system that overweighs “fast food consumption” over “slow food consumption”. Text is slow food because it takes longer to produce and consume. Like fast food, fast consumption fills you up fast but doesn’t do much for you. In a world where we measure user satisfaction and trust, we neglect the very basic metric for “connectedness” between users. NPS scores mean nothing if your users don’t feel connected to each other. I want to see companies adopt a metric for “connectedness” measuring how a reader feels towards the writer after reading a story. We should measure how you feel after reading a post. Did it make you feel more connected to the writer? Was the 1 minute you spent reading quality time? How does 1 minute of cat video trade off with 1 minute of reading?

Most importantly, text conveys a certain emotional depth that is not possible in photos and videos. People write during heightened states in their life like when Sheryl Sandberg wrote about losing her husband (I broke down reading her beautiful and poignant post) or when Mark Zuckerberg wrote about the miscarriages he and his wife Priscilla experienced before Max was born (very few people talked publicly about the pain of miscarriages until Mark’s text post). Writing helps us share our pain and heal together by connecting others to us through shared humanity. Through writing we find out that we are not as alone as we thought about our hardships. Writing is a conveyor of vulnerability and brings people together.

You can get to know someone through their writing. Writing makes me feel like I know someone like katie zhu before meeting her. From reading Katie’s Medium posts, I felt like I knew her and skipped the small talk when we met in person. We talked about everything from our shared love for writing to love-hate relationship with SF to internet ethics to cognitive diversity. We started on what would have been a fourth or fifth conversation level all thanks to me reading her writing. Writing connects people because it provides a deeper understanding of someone’s psyche, their beliefs, and their values. And that is a powerful thing in a world with so many disparate beliefs and divisiveness in political and religious factions. Writing has the ability to help you understand the other side’s opinion and dismount hidden biases.

Your product is only as good as the amalgamation of the people who use it. Content changes on the web but products that build deeper, meaningful connections between people will be lasting.

Let’s not get caught up in a “fast food consumption” world and forget that the internet can also be place for permanent, deep, and meaningful expressions. And this is why I believe in text. Text is not over yet, it’s just the beginning."
boren  writing  text  web  digital  via:tealtan  2015  slow  reading  slowreading  howweread  howwewrite  communication  socialmedia  atavist  longform  mediumform  snowfall  christinachae  twitter  theskimmm  buzzfeed  michaelsippy  slate  theawl  text+  theoffing  theatlantic  alwaysbetontext  sms  texting  snapchat  connectedness  emotions  storytelling  instagram  medium  facebook  internet  online  photography  video  toddvanderwerff  messaging  chat  multiliteracies 
december 2015 by robertogreco
The Decay of Twitter - The Atlantic
"Do other things get smooshed on Twitter? Definitely. The public and the private smoosh, as do the personal and professional. I’d even argue that subjectivity and objectivity get smooshed—consider the Especially Serious Journalists who note that “RTs are not endorsements.” But understanding Twitter as an online space that, for a long time, drew its energy from the tension between orality and literacy, and that—in its mid-life—has moved more decisively toward one over the other, works for me as a model of its collapse.

This tension also explains, to me, why the more visual social networks have stayed fun and vibrant even as the text-based ones have not. Vine, Pinterest, and Instagram don’t traffic in words, which can be reduced to identity-based magnum opi, but in images, which are a little harder to smoosh. Visual conversations have stayed chatty, in other words."



"In the final paragraphs of this article, let me assert something I have very little data to support: At some point early last year, the standard knock against Twitter—which had long ceased to be “I don’t want to know what someone’s eating for lunch”—became “I don’t want everyone to see what I have to say.” The public knows about conversation smoosh, and that constitutes, I think, a major problem for Twitter the Company. New products like Moments—which collects tweets, images, and video into little summaries—are not going to fix that.

I’m not sure anything can fix it, honestly. But I wonder if Twitter can’t arrange a de-smooshing, at least a little bit, by creating more forms of private-ness on the site. Separating the private and the public could, in turn, delineate “speech-like” and “print-like” tweets. Twitter’s offered locked accounts for a long time, but it has always been default public. (For a few early years, a pane on Twitter.com displayed every tweet.) Making it so an individual tweet’s publicness can be toggled on or off might help users feel more comfortable spending time there. And pushing new users toward secret accounts that can toggle individual tweets public might even allay some of their fears.

Or maybe nothing can be done. No one promises growth forever. Communities and companies of all sizes fall apart. And some institutions that thrive on their tensions for many years can one day find them exhausted, worn out, limp, their continued use driven more by convenience and habit than by vibrancy and vigor."
robinsonmeyer  2015  twitter  socialmedia  bonniestewart  walterong  secondaryorality  orality  literacy  internet  web  communication  online  communities  community  visibility  surveillance  contextcollapse  context  instagram  text  conversation  chattiness  vine  pinterest 
november 2015 by robertogreco
Project Naptha
"Project Naptha automatically applies state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms on every image you see while browsing the web. The result is a seamless and intuitive experience, where you can highlight as well as copy and paste and even edit and translate the text formerly trapped within an image.

Words on the web exist in two forms: there’s the text of articles, emails, tweets, chats and blogs— which can be copied, searched, translated, edited and selected— and then there’s the text which is shackled to images, found in comics, document scans, photographs, posters, charts, diagrams, screenshots and memes. Interaction with this second type of text has always been a second class experience, the only way to search or copy a sentence from an image would be to do as the ancient monks did, manually transcribing regions of interest.

This entire webpage is a live demo. You can watch as moving your cursor over a block of words changes it into the little I-beam. You can drag over a few lines and watch as a semitransparent blue box highlights the text, helping you keep track of where you are and what you’re reading. Hit Ctrl+C to copy the text, where you can paste it into a search bar, a Word document, an email or a chat window. Right-click and you can erase the words from an image, edit the words, or even translate it into a different language.

This was made by @antimatter15 (+KevinKwok on Google+), and Guillermo Webster."
chrome  extensions  ocr  text  browsers  projectnaptha  guillermowebster  kevinkwok  copypaste  browser 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Austin Kleon — The many designs of David Foster Wallace’s “Host”
"When David Foster Wallace’s heavily footnoted and annotated “Host” was originally published in The Atlantic it looked like this:

[images]

The colored footnotes were a unique challenge to present online, but The Atlantic web team did a pretty decent job by using hyperlinks and pop-up boxes (archived link here):

[image]

And then later, for the print collection Consider The Lobster, the footnotes lost their colors and were replaced with arrows and boxes:

[image]

The Atlantic has recently redesigned “Host” so that the footnotes expand within the piece like so:

[GIF]

It works particularly well with footnotes-within-footnotes:

[GIF]

This is one of the rare times that I think reading a piece online is now actually easier and more delightful than reading it in print.

It should be mentioned, by the way, that the eBook of Consider The Lobster doesn’t even contain the piece:"

[See also: http://greaterthanorequalto.net/blog/2009/07/david-foster-wallace-different-hosts/ ]
davidfosterwallace  annotation  footnotes  design  theatlantic  digitalsertão  expandingtext  digital  publishing  text  web  online  highlighting  telescopictext 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Secret Crush <3
"I am looking for coders who can work in any language to create prototypes of interesting things quickly.

So I am looking for coders and artists for a series of short collaborative projects. Collaborative is such an important word and if you want I can explain why that is.

If you want to make things with me you should probably know who I am.

My name's Ste Curran. I like making things in my spare time (e.g. One Life Left) and I've been the Creative Director at a number of game development studios over the last five years. At one point I formed and looked after an internal microstudio called “The Lab”, rapid prototyping game concepts over four-week sprints. It was intense, rewarding and productive. The intention is to apply the experience gained there to an independent, creator-owned label. The motivation is the same as it always is for me: to create brilliant new things and to show them off.

Still interested? Any questions? Do get in touch."

[via: https://twitter.com/twoodwar/status/600475979946033152 ]
telescopictext  text  webdev  webdesign 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Why (and How) I Wrote My Academic Book in Plain Text | W. Caleb McDaniel
"That only scratches the surface of what Pandoc can do. After learning a minimal amount of LaTeX, for example, I was able to turn a conference paper that looked like this in plain text into this formatted PDF suitable for depositing in my institutional repository. And the same plain text file was converted by Pandoc to the HTML version you can find on my webpage.

Learning to use Pandoc does take some time, to be sure. You can copy the plain text file I provided in the last paragraph and try it out yourself to see the kind of default output Pandoc produces. But my point here is that even its minimal functionality enables me to turn plain text files into *.docx files with relative ease. And only a little bit of reading and experimenting also enables me to distribute my academic work in a variety of formats. When sending my book manuscript to colleagues for review, for example, I was able to provide PDF, EPUB, or DOCX copies without changing the underlying plain text files at all. In short, I’m living proof that writing an academic book for history in plain text is possible. And having done it once, I’m not looking back."

[See also: http://text-patterns.thenewatlantis.com/2014/07/the-right-tools-for-job.html ]
markdown  text  writing  plaintext  pandoc  via:ayjay 
may 2015 by robertogreco
79 Theses on Technology. For Disputation. | The Infernal Machine
"Alan Jacobs has written seventy-nine theses on technology for disputation. A disputation is an old technology, a formal technique of debate and argument that took shape in medieval universities in Paris, Bologna, and Oxford in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In its most general form, a disputation consisted of a thesis, a counter-thesis, and a string of arguments, usually buttressed by citations of Aristotle, Augustine, or the Bible.

But disputations were not just formal arguments. They were public performances that trained university students in how to seek and argue for the truth. They made demands on students and masters alike. Truth was hard won; it was to be found in multiple, sometimes conflicting traditions; it required one to give and recognize arguments; and, perhaps above all, it demanded an epistemic humility, an acknowledgment that truth was something sought, not something produced.

It is, then, in this spirit that Jacobs offers, tongue firmly in cheek, his seventy-nine theses on technology and what it means to inhabit a world formed by it. They are pithy, witty, ponderous, and full of life. And over the following weeks, we at the Infernal Machine will take Jacobs’ theses at his provocative best and dispute them. We’ll take three or four at a time and offer our own counter-theses in a spirit of generosity.

So here they are:

1. Everything begins with attention.

2. It is vital to ask, “What must I pay attention to?”

3. It is vital to ask, “What may I pay attention to?”

4. It is vital to ask, “What must I refuse attention to?”

5. To “pay” attention is not a metaphor: Attending to something is an economic exercise, an exchange with uncertain returns.

6. Attention is not an infinitely renewable resource; but it is partially renewable, if well-invested and properly cared for.

7. We should evaluate our investments of attention at least as carefully and critically as our investments of money.

8. Sir Francis Bacon provides a narrow and stringent model for what counts as attentiveness: “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.”

9. An essential question is, “What form of attention does this phenomenon require? That of reading or seeing? That of writing also? Or silence?”

10. Attentiveness must never be confused with the desire to mark or announce attentiveness. (“Can I learn to suffer/Without saying something ironic or funny/On suffering?”—Prospero, in Auden’s The Sea and the Mirror)

11. “Mindfulness” seems to many a valid response to the perils of incessant connectivity because it confines its recommendation to the cultivation of a mental stance without objects.

12. That is, mindfulness reduces mental health to a single, simple technique that delivers its user from the obligation to ask any awkward questions about what his or her mind is and is not attending to.

13. The only mindfulness worth cultivating will be teleological through and through.

14. Such mindfulness, and all other healthy forms of attention—healthy for oneself and for others—can only happen with the creation of and care for an attentional commons.

15. This will not be easy to do in a culture for which surveillance has become the normative form of care.

16. Simone Weil wrote that ‘Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity’; if so, then surveillance is the opposite of attention.

17. The primary battles on social media today are fought by two mutually surveilling armies: code fetishists and antinomians.

18. The intensity of those battles is increased by a failure by any of the parties to consider the importance of intimacy gradients.

19. “And weeping arises from sorrow, but sorrow also arises from weeping.”—Bertolt Brecht, writing about Twitter

20. We cannot understand the internet without perceiving its true status: The Internet is a failed state.

21. We cannot respond properly to that failed-state condition without realizing and avoiding the perils of seeing like a state.

22. If instead of thinking of the internet in statist terms we apply the logic of subsidiarity, we might be able to imagine the digital equivalent of a Mondragon cooperative.

23. The internet groans in travail as it awaits its José María Arizmendiarrieta."

[continues on]

[A collection of follow-ups and responses is accummulating here:
http://iasc-culture.org/THR/channels/Infernal_Machine/tag/79-theses-on-technology/

For example: “79 Theses on Technology: On Attention”
http://iasc-culture.org/THR/channels/Infernal_Machine/2015/03/79-theses-on-technology-on-attention/

And another round-up of responses:
http://text-patterns.thenewatlantis.com/2015/04/more-on-theses.html ]
alanjacobs  anthropology  culture  digital  history  technology  attention  dunning-krugereffect  anosognosia  pleasure  ethics  writing  howwewrite  jaronlanier  alextabattok  stupidity  logic  loki  cslewis  algorithms  akrasia  physical  patheticfallacy  hacking  hackers  kevinkelly  georgebernardshaw  agency  philosophy  tommccarthy  commenting  frankkermode  text  texts  community  communication  resistance  mindfulness  internet  online  web  josémaríaarizmendiarrieta  simonwiel  society  whauden  silence  attentiveness  textualist  chadwellmon  surveillance  2015 
april 2015 by robertogreco
No legal merit | A Working Library
"In happier news, The Verge reports on Amazon’s shameless enforcement of non-competes for low-wage temporary workers, and Amazon rapidly about-faces. Nevermind pageviews and reading time, let’s measure publishing success by the actual change we bring about. Metrics could include unjust laws repealed, despicable company policies reversed, social welfare improved, centimeters of sea level increase averted, pseudo-science rejected, reduction in atmospheric carbon, happy children, puppies with loving homes. I’m only half-kidding. Business metrics are critical, but they’re not why we pour our hearts into this work, and we can’t ever let the numbers obscure that."



"An interesting aside: media Twitter was understandably aghast at Facebook’s new initiative, while seemingly unmoved by similar patterns on YouTube. I suspect this is because we have feels about words that we don’t have with video. It’s worth noting that while the web has become the de facto distribution method for video, the internet—that is, the open network of hypertext documents—privileges words over images. HTML is words annotating words. Words are foundational to HTML; images and video are not. Even our relationship to images is driven by language: one can “read” a picture, and our interpretation of images is constrained by words. I’m tempted to think our angst about the economy of letters should be directed at the underlying economic concerns—of which publishing is only one victim—and away from the words themselves. The words will be fine."
2015  mandybrown  metrics  journalism  activism  justice  policy  politics  business  measurement  publishing  success  change  changemaking  socialwelfare  society  law  legal  progress  climatechange  science  education  happiness  ellenpao  gender  inequality  amazon  labor  exploitation  women  facebook  html  text  images  video  youtube 
march 2015 by robertogreco
That Way We’re All Writing Now — The Message — Medium
"[When you(r)…
That moment when…]

This style has been huge for some time now. Do you love it, or hate it?

Me—I’m in! Mind you, I’m a fan of all the betentacled linguistic lifeforms that have emerged from our cambrian explosion online. These days, people write insanely more text than they did before the Internet and mobile phones came along. So the volume of experimentation is correspondingly massive and, for me, delightful. One joy of our age is watching wordplay evolve at the pace of E.coli.

But this trend: What’s going on with it? How does it work? Why do people employ it so frequently?

It turns out there are four big reasons why.

To suss this out, I called up some linguists: Gretchen McCulloch, a who specializes in analyzing netspeak (her Toast essay explaining “the grammar of Doge” is a gorgeous example), and Ben Zimmer, a linguist with Vocabulary.com who writes for the Wall Street Journal. As they pointed out, this style of wordplay initially appeared—like most online memes — on image-boards, Tumblr and Youtube. An early version was the meme “that feel when”; variants morphed into the standalone phrase “that awkward moment when”, which by last year was common enough to appear as a movie title.

But it’s more than just movie titles. This stylistic gambit— “that moment when …”, “the thing where …”, “when you realize …” — is omnipresent now. And that’s because it achieves a few conversational goals:

1) It creates a little puzzle. …

2) It makes your feeling seem universal. …

3) It’s short. …

4) It’s a glimpse of the next big way the Internet is changing language. …

For the first fifteen years of the mainstream Internet, the main way language changed was at the level of the individual word. We invented a lot of ‘textisms’ — short forms like ‘ur’ for “you’re”, LOL-style acronyms, or alphanumeric l33tspe@k. And of course, a lot of words got invented, like “selfie”.

What’s happening now is different. Now we’re messing around with syntax — the structure of sentences, the order in which the various parts go and how they relate to one another. This stuff people are doing with the subordinate clause, it’s pretty sophisticated, and oddly deep. We’re not just inventing catchy new words. We’re mucking around with what makes a sentence a sentence.

“Playing with syntax seems to be the broad meta trend behind a whole bunch of stuff that’s going on these days,” McCulloch tells me. And it goes beyond this subordinate-clause trend. Many of the biggest recent language memes were about syntax experimentation, such as the “i’ve lost the ability to can” gambit, or the gnarly elocution of doge, or the “because” meme. (Indeed, Zimmer points out, the American Dialect Society proclaimed “Because” the Word of the Year for 2013, largely because it had been revitalized by this syntax play.)

Why would we be suddenly messing around with syntax? It’s not clear. McCulloch thinks it may be related to a larger trend she’s identified, which she calls “stylized verbal incoherence mirroring emotional incoherence”. Most of these syntax-morphing memes consist of us trying to find clever new ways to express our feelings.

“You want to convey that you’re kind of overwhelmed by your emotions,” she says. “But you don’t want people to think that you’re completely naive about it. So you’re maintaining a certain level of sophistication. You need to stylize your incoherence, so that it’s part of a broader thing people are doing. You don’t just kind of keysmash all over the place. You also want to be witty while you’re doing it.

“You get more attention online if you’re witty, and people actually engage with you if you’re witty about your feelings.”

On the other hand, if you really don’t like this trend, there is—as it happens —an image-meme for your feelings, too. Better yet, it’s a complete sentence!"
clivethompson  2015  language  internet  memes  syntax  linguistics  writing  howwewrite  gretchenmcculloch  doge  grammar  text  texting  play  communication  brevity  universality  belonging  humor  emotions  benzimmer  wordplay  words  sentences  that 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Books Matter: Design Observer
"I recently gave a talk to a library group about why the printed book still matters. I had been asked to address the subject of “Books in a Digital World,” but I chose to focus much more closely on the characteristics of printed objects that are not effectively represented in facsimile. That is: what cannot be captured in a scan.

I’ve been carrying this list in my head for years, adding to it one reason at a time. In my profession, as a librarian and a curator, this list (of which what follows is only a portion) functions as an apologia pro vita mia—rational defenses for the continued existence of the printed codex—and my involvement with them.

Ten Good Reasons the Book is Important

1. It is a piece of technology that lasts.
The codex is one of the longest-lived of all technologies. It has been improved-upon—but changed only slightly—over the centuries. Movable type printing has been around since the 1450s; the codex form has been in use for as long as 2000 years. These are extremely durable tools and forms.

2. It needs very little, if any, extra technology to be accessed.
(Ignoring, of course, that terrifying Twilight Zone episode, “Time Enough to Last,” in which the last man alive on Earth breaks his eyeglasses… .) Other media demand devices to be deciphered. Yes, printed information is coded, via language and graphic systems of representation. But in general, these are codes that are managed by human eyes, hands, and brains—tools we carry with us.

3. The book retains evidence.
These forms of evidence include: notes; names of owners; annotations. These all help us understand how books functioned as possessions and learning tools, and how they traveled from one owner or reader to another. As a librarian, I don’t advocate writing in books, but I am excited when I find an eighteenth-century American schoolbook that contains handwriting exercises on its pages.

4. Books are true to form.
Books are meant to be seen and read in specific ways. Many early books had sections that were intended to be viewed as two-page spreads—not isolated from each other, as often happens in online viewers. The same observation can be made about scrolls; their presentation was key to how they were interpreted. We can’t forget that reading can have a ceremonial function.

5. Each copy of a book is potentially unique …
… at least up through the second industrial age. Changes to texts often show up in different copies of books that are assumed to be identical. Printing involved mainly manual processes until the end of the nineteenth century—sometimes necessitating stop-press corrections. These kinds of changes can teach us about the genealogy of printed works. Many digital scanning projects are necessarily limited to the selection of the “best” copy of a book, which, once scanned, stands in for every other copy.

6. Printed items are consumable goods …
… in passive and active ways. Some classes of books and printed objects are meant to live only a short while—to provide information and then be discarded. Lucky for us, when copies of such ephemeral items have managed to survive, we have data that record phenomena that can be extremely difficult to document otherwise. Such is the case with flyers, brochures, tickets, posters, and other single-sheet printed items.

7. A book is an object fixed in time.
A book can tell us about its status in history. If we look through first editions of Moby Dick or Leaves of Grass, we find that they give away information not only about when they were created, but also about the worlds in which they were created, by way of advertisements, bindings, the quality of their paper, and watermarks on that paper. Such components are often not captured by scanning or are flattened out to make them of negligible use. In Nicholson Baker’s Double Fold—his saga about how libraries microfilmed runs of newspapers in the 1950s and 1960s and then discarded them—one of his chief complaints was that the filmers skipped advertising supplements and cartoons: things that had been deemed unimportant.

8. A book can be an object of beauty and human craftsmanship.
Those qualities alone are of significant value.

9. When you are reading a book in a public place, other people can see what you are reading.
Reading is generally a private activity, but it also has social functions. Even when we hold a book up in front of our faces, we are telling the world what we’re reading—or in the very least—that we are reading a book (rather than tweeting about the books we wish we were reading … ).

10. The Internet will never contain every book.
The growth of information is exponential—with vast universes of new data being created online every day. Many swaths of old information—in the forms of books, magazines, and pamphlets—will never make it online. There are projects and grants for scanning specific topics—English eighteenth-century provincial newspapers, Latin American imprints—but significant bodies of work of minor stature will never make the cut."

[See also Matt Thomas's notes: http://submittedforyourperusal.com/2015/03/04/ten-good-reasons-the-book-is-important/ ]
books  design  technology  ebooks  print  digital  2015  timothyyoung  craftsmanship  display  object  atemporality  text  evidence  marginalia  annotation  durability  via:austinkleon 
march 2015 by robertogreco
80 Days at GDC (with images, tweets) · laurajnash · Storify
"Recaps and Livetweets of Meg Jayanth's (@betterthemask) presentation."

Taking Risks

"On #80Days, @betterthemask: "my job was to tempt players into making bad choices." Oh, and also writing those 500,000 words ;)

.@betterthemask: "our goal was to teach players that making a bad strategic decision can lead to a better story" omg I'm in love

.@betterthemask talking about tricking players into making foolish decisions "because it's more fun winning by the skin of your teeth"

"It's the near-misses, the catastrophes, the daring escapes that players remember." This 100%. via @betterthemask http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/237810/Narrative_and_design_insights_from_80_Days_writing_lead

The Dark Stuff

.@betterthemask: Don't avoid sensitive topics, but do think ethically and politically about what you're saying. #GDC2015

.@betterthemask: Slave-catching expedition is not a mechanics punishment. It's a narrative consequence for a narrative decision. #GDC2015

.@betterthemask: 80 Days deliberately deconstructs the classism, racism, and sexism of Verne's novel and steampunk in general. #GDC2015

Playing the Sidekick

.@betterthemask: The world of 80 Days turns, but it doesn't turn around you. Not being the most important person is liberating. #GDC2015

I liked the idea of the world not revolving around the main characters in the 80 days talk #GDC

Props to @betterthemask for that - playing as a minor hero was a refreshing bit of humility from the god complex of too many games n gamers.

Romance

.@betterthemask: Romances in 80 Days are important to players, but those narratives are unpredictable. Can't game the romance. #GDC2015

#gdc .@betterthemask on the value of romances that aren't skill checked and cannot be gamed

Behind-the-Scenes

I love @betterthemask’s description of approaching 80 Days as “a machine for telling stories”.

It's about READING #gosh #gasp @betterthemask

"Talking about mechanics and narrative as oppositional completely misses the point."
#80Days
- @betterthemask

@betterthemask, wonderful talk about building a strong narrative foundation while embracing constraints and collaboration. #GDC2015

On getting lost in research - 80-90% of the research @betterthemask did never made it into the game; rabbit-holes not avoided on 80 Days.

.@betterthemask: In games, you have to create your own editing process. Find a first reader & redraft. Protect redrafting time. #GDC2015

Writers: think ethically about your game writing, what you leave out is as critical as what you put in. seek criticism- @betterthemask

.@betterthemask: Hire writers early and involve them in the process! (I couldn't agree more.) Use each other's strengths. #GDC2015

.@betterthemask: Make efficient design choices; figure out how to be as lazy as possible. It's a necessity. #GDC2015

Things I didn't know about 80 Days:

.@betterthemask: 80 Days has more text than the LOTR trilogy (but not as much as the first five ASOIAF books). :) #GDC2015

.@betterthemask: Europe is all introductory. Asia adds complexity. Americas ramps up the tension. #GDC2015

So it turns out you can die tragically in @betterthemask's 80 days. Kinda stunned here http://www.inklestudios.com/80days/journeys/?id=7qwvUJqmv4&playerName=@john_brindle

Recaps

Narrative and design insights from 80 Days' writing lead
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/237810/Narrative_and_design_insights_from_80_Days_writing_lead.php

ICYMI @_shortgame on 80 Days, we pile on praise, mock “evocative”, fail at French and hype camels, drag, romance… http://www.theshortgame.net/36-80-days/ "
via:robinsloan  80days  games  gamedesign  videogames  gamedev  gaming  storytelling  writing  megjayanth  edg  srg  research  process  howwework  reading  howweread  text  interactivefiction  collaboration  constraints  tension  complexity  gamedevelopment  if 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Futures of text ["A survey of all the current innovation in text as a medium"] | Whoops by Jonathan Libov
"Text is the most socially useful communication technology. It works well in 1:1, 1:N, and M:N modes. It can be indexed and searched efficiently, even by hand. It can be translated. It can be produced and consumed at variable speeds. It is asynchronous. It can be compared, diffed, clustered, corrected, summarized and filtered algorithmically. It permits multiparty editing. It permits branching conversations, lurking, annotation, quoting, reviewing, summarizing, structured responses, exegesis, even fan fic. The breadth, scale and depth of ways people use text is unmatched by anything."



"Messaging is the only interface in which the machine communicates with you much the same as the way you communicate with it. If some of the trends outlined in this post pervade, it would mark a qualitative shift in how we interact with computers. Whereas computer interaction to date has largely been about discrete, deliberate events — typing in the command line, clicking on files, clicking on hyperlinks, tapping on icons — a shift to messaging- or conversational-based UI's and implicit hyperlinks would make computer interaction far more fluid and natural.

What's more, messaging AI benefits from an obvious feedback loop: The more we interact with bots and messaging UI's, the better it'll get. That's perhaps true for GUI as well, but to a far lesser degree. Messaging AI may get better at a rate we've never seen in the GUI world. Hold on tight."

[via: https://twitter.com/equartey/status/570340911227367424
https://twitter.com/hautepop/status/570895976296087552
https://twitter.com/bruces/status/572384468230676480
https://twitter.com/TheRealFuture/status/572502116490747905 ]
text  texting  chat  sms  messaging  ui  communication  interface  design  gui  lark  quicktype  sinaweibo  alipay  qq  wechat  qqhousekeeper  weidan  koudai  facebook  facebookmessenger  talkto  applications  mobile  luka  chatgrape  slack  commandline  bustime  jonathanlibov 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Commonplace: a wiki-like way to store and browse Markdown writings
"What is Commonplace?

I write quite a bit, usually in Markdown, but I usually keep all my markdown files scattered around my hard-drive. Commonplace is a simple wiki-like system to store and browse your markdown files. It works by reading .md files from a directory you configure (my advice would be to keep this directory backed up through Dropbox). The name draws inspiration from commonplace books.

Commonplace is not meant to be a markdown editor, even though it includes basic editing capabilities. There are a number of tools that do the markdown editing job extremely well - I happen to use Byword for Mac but you get to choose your own poison. If you edit the markdown files in an external editor, changes are reflected here after a refresh."
markdown  ruby  wikis  webdev  commonplacebooks  search  notes  notetaking  text  via:frankchimero  webdesign 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Text Visualization Browser
"A Visual Survey of Text Visualization Techniques"
analytics  visualization  dataviz  data  text 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Hearing Is Believing - NYTimes.com
"The aural/oral revolution won’t mean the end of the book any more than the e-book did. Besides, the “non-text-based” work of literature has a long tradition. “In the history of mankind, words were heard before they were seen,” wrote Albert B. Lord, the author of “The Singer of Tales,” a classic work of scholarship that traced oral literature from Homer through “Beowulf” and the tales, still recited today, of Balkan poets capable of reciting thousands of lines of verse by heart.

Progress doesn’t always mean going forward."
audio  books  ebooks  audiobooks  podcasts  progress  aural  oral  orality  text  literature  oraltradition  2015  jamesatlas 
january 2015 by robertogreco
CommentPress: A WordPress plugin for social texts in social contexts
"CommentPress is an open source theme and plugin for the WordPress blogging engine that allows readers to comment paragraph-by-paragraph, line-by-line or block-by-block in the margins of a text. Annotate, gloss, workshop, debate: with CommentPress you can do all of these things on a finer-grained level, turning a document into a conversation. It can be applied to a fixed document (paper/essay/book etc.) or to a running blog. Use it in combination with multisite, BuddyPress and BuddyPress Groupblog to create communities around your documents."

[via: http://blog.ayjay.org/uncategorized/assignment-commentary-and-anthology/ and
http://blog.ayjay.org/uncategorized/more-about-my-new-writing-assignment/ ]
wordpress  plugins  publishing  social  socialtexts  buddypress  via:ayjay  classideas  writing  commenting  text  bookfuturism  groupblogs  groupblog  annotation  gloss  onlinetoolkit  themes  commentpress 
january 2015 by robertogreco
The 60-second interview: Tim Carmody, independent technology journalist | Capital New York
"CAPITAL: You were a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania before becoming a journalist. Why did you decide to leave academia?

CARMODY: “Decide” might be the wrong word. I was on the academic job market for two years, 2008 and 2009, which were really just a slaughterhouse. Getting a tenure-track job or a good postdoc in the humanities is kind of like getting drafted into the N.B.A. in any year, but schools were cancelling searches and trimming their adjunct budgets right and left, and more and more jobless PhDs were piling up. I was in the top two or three for a couple of really good jobs, which was harder in some ways because it felt really close. Some people keep playing the lottery for years and years, but I just didn’t have the heart to keep doing it.

But I was really lucky; I’d been writing online for popular and crossover publications while I was still in grad school, a couple of essays in The Atlantic. I wrote a future-of-media blog with Matt Thompson and Robin Sloan called Snarkmarket that was really smart and fun and popular with the right people. Jason Kottke liked my writing and asked me to guest-edit his blog. Then Wired took a chance and hired me—I really couldn’t have asked for a better first job in journalism. After that, all the momentum for me was in journalism, so I’ve been doing that ever since.

Still, I’d totally be Professor Carmody in UC-Santa Barbara’s English department if things had gone my way, and I don’t know, maybe that would have been a happy ending too.

CAPITAL: Does your academic background still inform your reporting, or have you found that the skills valued by academia and those valued by journalism are total opposites?

CARMODY: I think the tools of journalism and scholarship complement each other. I had to learn how to be a reporter: do phone interviews, develop sources, write up different genres of articles. In some ways, I appreciated the tools of reporting more, because when you’re writing about Citizen Kane, you can’t get Orson Welles or Gregg Toland on the phone. If you’re writing about Netflix, you might be able to get Reed Hastings or Ted Sarandos on the phone. That’s pretty amazing.

In other cases, I think my training gave me some significant advantages. I’m really good at research, at context. I’m good at breaking down a document, whether it’s a press release or a letter to shareholders or an interview, and digging out what’s important. I’m good at linking things that are happening right now to big changes that happen over decades. I’m really comfortable with the publishing and media industries; I speak their language.

Also, besides research, I was a teacher for ten years. I love working with younger writers, whether it’s as an editor or just helping them think about what they do, because that was my job. And a lot of the students I taught in college have gone on to have really great careers in the industries I write about, which is really satisfying too."



"CAPITAL: You've extensively studied the history, theory, and future of writing. So what’s the future of writing?

CARMODY: I’m bullish on writing. Movies, radio, television, and now digital media—everything was supposed to push us away from text, to video or “back” to speech. First, there’s no going back. We’re always stumbling forward. Second, writing is invincible. Thirty years ago, we thought we’d all be talking to our computers; instead, we’re all typing on our phones. Can you believe we get to play and work on machines that give you new things to read all day? If you’d told me this when I was six years old, I’d have fainted from happiness.

We live in such a hyperliterate world, soaked and saturated in writing: on our machines, on the streets, on our television screens. It’s just that writing doesn’t live in the boxes that it used to. The genie is out of the bottle. But that just means that the magic could be anywhere."
timcarmody  interviews  academia  journalism  highered  highereducation  writing  text  media  snarkmarket  context  research  television  radio  film  literacy  multiliteracies  hyperliteracy  2015  howweread  howwewrite  cellphones  mobile  phones  voicerecognition  readingmachines 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Poiesis - Wikipedia
"Poïesis (Ancient Greek: ποίησις) is etymologically derived from the ancient term ποιέω, which means "to make". This word, the root of our modern "poetry", was first a verb, an action that transforms and continues the world.[citation needed] Neither technical production nor creation in the romantic sense, poïetic work reconciles thought with matter and time,[citation needed] and person with the world.[citation needed] It is also used as a suffix, as in the biological term hematopoiesis, the formation of blood cells.[citation needed]

There are two forms of poiesis: Autopoiesis and Allopoiesis

In the Symposium (a Socratic dialogue written by Plato), Diotima describes how mortals strive for immortality in relation to poiesis. In all begetting and bringing forth upon the beautiful there is a kind of making/creating or poiesis. In this genesis there is a movement beyond the temporal cycle of birth and decay. "Such a movement can occur in three kinds of poiesis: (1) Natural poiesis through sexual procreation, (2) poiesis in the city through the attainment of heroic fame, and, finally, (3) poiesis in the soul through the cultivation of virtue and knowledge."[1]

Whereas Plato, according to the Timaeus, regards physis as the result of poiesis, viz. the poiesis of the demiurge who creates from ideas, Aristotle considers poiesis as an imitation of physis. In short, the form or idea, which precedes the physis, contrasts with the living, which is the innate principle or form of self-motion. In other words, the technomorphic paradigm contrasts with the biomorphic; the theory of nature as a whole with the theory of the living individual.[2]

Martin Heidegger refers to it as a 'bringing-forth', using this term in its widest sense. He explained poiesis as the blooming of the blossom, the coming-out of a butterfly from a cocoon, the plummeting of a waterfall when the snow begins to melt. The last two analogies underline Heidegger's example of a threshold occasion: a moment of ecstasis when something moves away from its standing as one thing to become another.

In literary studies, at least two fields draw on the etymology of poiesis: ecopoetics and zoopoetics. As "eco" derives from the root "oikos" meaning "house, home, or hearth," then ecopoetics explores how language can help cultivate (or make) a sense of dwelling on the earth. Zoopoetics explores how animals (zoo) shape the making of a text.

In their 2011 academic book, All Things Shining, Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly conclude that embracing a "meta-poietic" mindset is the best, if not the only, method to authenticate meaning in our secular times: "Meta-poiesis, as one might call it, steers between the twin dangers of the secular age: it resists nihilism by reappropriating the sacred phenomenon of physis, but cultivates the skill to resist physis in its abhorrent, fanatical form. Living well in our secular, nihilistic age, therefore, requires the higher-order skill of recognizing when to rise up as one with the ecstatic crowd and when to turn heel and walk rapidly away."[3]

Furthermore, Dreyfus and Dorrance Kelly urge each person to become a sort of "craftsman" whose responsibility it is to refine their faculty for poiesis in order to achieve existential meaning in their lives and to reconcile their bodies with whatever transcendence there is to be had in life itself: "The task of the craftsman is not to generate the meaning, but rather to cultivate in himself the skill for discerning the meanings that are already there."[4]"
concepts  etymology  poetry  words  poiesis  wikipedia  via:bopuc  plato  timaeus  socrates  aristotle  heidegger  ecopoetics  zoopoetics  language  animals  text  meaning  hubertdreyfus  seandorrancekelly  meta-poiesis  nihilism  meaningmaking  existentialism  purpose  hematopoiesis  virtue  knowledge 
january 2015 by robertogreco
big boring system
Welcome to the Big Boring System Inc.

This is a text-only online community. Feel free to browse recent posts.

house rules

Abusive/annoying/obnoxious behavior will risk in a ban on your phone number.
Offensive and/or inappropriate posts can be deleted by operators.
This is a community for people to share interests and have light chat. If you don't like it, go set up your own. [https://github.com/bigboringsystem/bigboringsystem ]"
socialmedia  text  tools  onlinetoolkit  bbs  via:tealtan 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Kenneth Goldsmith - Talks | Frieze Projects NY
[Direct link to .mp3: http://friezeprojectsny.org/uploads/files/talks/Kenneth_Goldsmith.mp3 ]

"‘I Look to Theory Only When I Realize That Somebody Has Dedicated Their Entire Life to a Question I Have Only Fleetingly Considered’

A keynote lecture by the poet Kenneth Goldsmith, whose writing has been described as ‘some of the most exhaustive and beautiful collage work yet produced in poetry’ (Publishers Weekly). Goldsmith is the author of eleven books of poetry and founding editor of the online archive UbuWeb. In 2013, he was named as the inaugural Poet Laureate of MoMA."
kennethgoldsmith  copying  uncreativewriting  mercecunningham  writing  internet  web  online  remixing  culture  art  poetry  originality  appropriation  quantity  quality  curiosity  harrypotter  poetics  digital  reproduction  translation  displacement  disjunction  corydoctorow  change  howwewrite  pointing  data  metadata  choice  authorship  versioning  misfiling  language  difference  meaning  ethics  morality  literature  twitter  artworld  marshallmcluhan  christianbök  plagiarism  charleseames  rules  notknowing  archiving  improvisation  text  bricolage  assemblage  cv  painting  technology  photography  readerships  thinkerships  thoughtobjects  reassembly  ubuweb  freeculture  moma  outreach  communityoutreach  nyc  copyright  ip  intellectualproperty  ideas  information  sfpc  vitoacconci  audience  accessibility  situationist  museums  markets  criticism  artcriticism  economics  money  browsers  citation  sampling  jonathanfranzen  internetasliterature  getrudestein  internetasfavoritebook  namjunepaik  johncage  misbehaving  andywarhol  bobdylan  barbarakruger  jkrowling  china  creati 
august 2014 by robertogreco
On Digital Ethnography | Ethnography Matters
"When Tricia asked me to contribute a series on Ethnography Matters, I thought that I would take this opportunity to bring together the notes on digital ethnography that I have collected over the last couple of years. I would like to push the boundaries of computational usage in ethnographic processes a bit here. I really want to expand the definition of digital ethnography beyond the use of computers, tablets, and smart phones as devices to interact with online communities, or to capture, transfer, and store field media.

In this three-part series, I am going to discuss how working with computational tools could widen the scope of ethnographic work and deepen our practice. I will stay mostly within the domain of data gathering in this first post. In the second post, I will talk about the process of field data interpreting and visualizing; and the last post, I will focus on how the digital may transform ethnographic narrative and argumentation."

"On Digital Ethnography, What do computers have to do with ethnography? (1 of 4)"
http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2012/10/27/on-digital-ethnography-part-one-what-do-computers-have-to-do-with-ethnography/

"On Digital Ethnography: mapping as a mode of data discovery (2 of 4)"
http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2012/12/05/on-digital-ethnography-mapping-as-a-mode-of-data-discovery-part-2-of-4/

"On Digital Ethnography, magnifying the materiality of culture (3 of 4)"
http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2013/01/25/on-digital-ethnography-magnifying-the-materiality-of-culture-part-3-of-4/

"Ethnography Beyond Text and Print: How the digital can transform ethnographic expressions"
http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2013/12/09/ethnography-beyond-text-and-print-how-the-digital-can-transform-ethnographic-expressions/
ethnography  2012  wendyhsu  maps  mapping  culture  materiality  digitalethnography  ethnographymatters  via:anne  data  text  print  digital  audio  photography  geography 
july 2014 by robertogreco
T3xtm0.de | A collection of text graphics and related works, stretching back thousands of years. 2012-2014
"Daily posts of text graphics and related works, stretching back thousands of years. Textiles, BBS-graphics, poetry, mosaic, typography, and much more. More than 5000 images collected by Raquel Meyers and Goto80.

text-mode.tumblr.com was launched in february 2012 in order to collect quality text graphics in one place. We selected our favourites from archives such as asciiarena, sixteencolors, utf8art and ANSIart but also wanted to show other media and formats.

Over time the focus broadened and shifted from technological concepts to aesthetics, which opened up for things like pottery, architecture and square kufic. We also started to ask ourselves how relevant it was to use character encodings such as ASCII and Unicode to categorize the works, since it was often either difficult or irrelevant.

t3xtm0.de was launched in March 2014 to archive 2000+ posts properly, outside of Tumblr. Both places are now updated with the same material but here it is easier to search. For example, you can combine two tags to find emoticons from the 1800s, animations in ASCII or teletext graphics by Raquel Meyers.

If you find any errors or have suggestions, or if you want to have your works removed from here, please get in touch. If a post is missing a source link or hi-res image, you can try to find it at text-mode.tumblr.com instead.

Formats and media:

ASCII – EU/US-centric encoding of 128 characters
ANSI – Colourful and more advanced than ASCII
Antiope – French teletext standard used for Minitel
Architecture – yes
ATASCII – ASCII-encoding for Atari’s 8-bit computers
Baudot – pre-ASCII encoding, often used for teletype
BBS – bulletin board systems, popular pre-internet platforms
Braille – tactile writing system for the visually impaired
EBCDIC – IBM’s encoding that competed with ASCII in the 1960s
FANSI – An ANSI-variation that supports 256 colours, among other things
Letterpress
Minitel – French videotex-service 1982-2012
PETSCII – Used in Commodore 8-bit computers.
Print
RTTY – Radio Teletype
shift-JIS – “Japanese Unicode”
SharpSCII – “Japanese PETSCII”
SMS – mobile phone text messages
teletext – information service for TV, still popular in north EU
Telidon – Canadian videotex service, also featuring vector graphics
Typewriters
Unicode – currently the most widely used encoding
videotex – a two-way communication, based on teletext
xbin – a variation of ANSI

Artists and groups:

A. Bill Miller American ASCII artist. Glitches & grids!
Blocktronics (b. 2008) International group of ANSI and ASCII-artists.
Dom Sylvester Houédard (b. 1924) British typewriter artist and poet
CTRL+C & CTRL+V Generic anonymous name on Japanese text forum.
Joan Stark Early American internet-ASCII artist
Julian Nelson Typewriter-activist and artist, active since the 1930s
Max Capacity American artist working with PETSCII and teletext, etc
Raquel Meyers Spanish artist, working with PETSCII and teletext
Vuk Ćosić Serbian artist, bringing lots of ASCII into the art world

(more coming)

Various:

Advertising
Animation – Anything that moves
Clothes
Cross stitch
Emoticons
Grids
Mosaic
Patterns
Poetry
Scene – Oldschool hacker style
Sloyd
Square kufic -
Tiles
Tessellations
Textile
Text-mode
Tools
Toys
Typography
χχχ – Naked stuff

Time periods:

ancient
1700s
1800s
1900s
1910s
1920s
1930s
1940s
1950s
1960s
1970s
1980s
1990s
2000s
2010s"
text  textgraphics  blogs  ascii  mosaics  typography  poetry 
april 2014 by robertogreco
BIBLIOTHECA INVISIBILIS
"Bibliotheca Invisibilis seeks to gather all sorts of conceptualizations of the Invisible. You are invited to participate by sharing your work(s) that presents the invisible (including but not limited to invisible text).

Your works can exist (and if there's a link I'm happy to link to it), or be imaginary. The key is to share the work with (some of) its underlying conceptualization.

If you would like to participate, please send the following:

1) Title or name of work
2) Write-up on the work's concept
3) An illustration (e.g. book cover, interior text, or whatever you deem appropriate)
4) Bio and Author photo

Send information to, or ask questions of, me at Nalanda10@aol.com

Best,
Eileen R. Tabios
Library Director, Bibliotheca Invisibilis

*****

Invitation to Curate

While Bibliotheca Invisibilis will continue to be open to individual participants, we are also open to hosting a curated group of works on the theme of Invisibility. Note that the "publisher" of this Blog and the works you choose is Blogger (Blogger has certain constraints which we can discuss if you act as Curator). While you can present as many works as you wish within your curated group of works, it's best to anticipate that you should find a minimum of five different poets/artists represented. To curate a group of works (real and/or imaginary), please email me at Nalanda10@aol.com; if I don't know you, in your initial contact please share some background info (or bio) about yourself.

Best,
Eileen R. Tabios
Library Director, Bibliotheca Invisibilis"
via:soulellis  books  ebooks  invisibility  eileentabios  invisible  text 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Interactive Criticism: House of Leaves as Haptic Interface
"House of Leaves demands what Laura U. Marks, in Touch: Sensuous Theory and Multisensory Media, calls “haptic criticism.” A haptic interface is one that engages our skin before our intellect, our body before our brain. Certain media devices could be described as peculiarly haptic (such as the Xbox Kinect or Apple’s iPad), but all media have the potential to be (or necessarily are) haptic. A book has an odor, a certain weight in our hands, a tactile pleasure at the turn of a page. The film strip has an audible clack as it moves through the projector, and the emulsion dissolves sweetly before our eyes. And, even if these media are rendered mostly intangible, books and films will always have a physical impact on us, causing us to recoil, sigh, bristle, and scream. For Marks, when we write about literary texts, “the task is to make the dry words retain a trace of the wetness of the encounter” (x). Roland Barthes writes similarly in The Pleasure of the Text, “Text means Tissue” (64), a nod to the literal substances from which books are made (pulp, rag, and animal hide), while also alluding to the materiality of language. When we read, we engage the physical object of the book in an intimate way, each of us handling books with our own idiosyncrasies. Some readers will delicately cradle an open book in two hands, whereas others will forcefully bend the cover back and pinch the book violently between the thumb and forefinger of one hand. How we handle a printed text effects how we encounter and interpret its contents.

Quote from Roland BarthesBarthes continues, “What I enjoy in a narrative is not directly its content or even its structure, but rather the abrasions I impose upon the fine surface” (12). His use of the word “abrasions” suggests there is indeed something violent about how we interact with a written text. And the act of reading, for better or worse, is something we “impose” upon a text. Thus, Barthes talks further about how “applied reading” (12) disrupts the “integrity of the text” (11). The word “integrity” is italicized (by Barthes), drawing attention to its polyvalency. Applied reading doesn’t just disrupt the value or moral character of a text; applied reading tears at the text’s cohesive fabric, punctures its skin, rips its pages and paragraphs, dissects its innards. This is not only what reading can do, for Barthes, but what it must do. The goal of reading is “not to devour, to gobble, but to graze, to browse scrupulously, to rediscover” (13). We metaphorically engage the flesh of a word when we focus on the typographical choices that govern how a word looks on the page, but we engage the flesh of a word even more literally when we notice and concern ourselves with how a word feels as it comes out of our mouths. Each word has a shape, a part of our mouths, lungs, throat, or gut that it tickles or mobilizes into action. We don’t just gobble words, but also expel them. This is a biting criticism of another sort; but my work here is about a kind of criticism that bites back. The violence we do to a text is minor when compared to the violence a text can do to us, if we let it."



"I’ve spent more time not reading House of Leaves than I’ve spent reading other books. The book haunts me — hits me sidelong when I least expect it. It bubbles to the surface at inopportune moments. And there are holes in the text I haven’t yet fallen into. Holes in the text I probably never will fall into. All the while, the book incessantly urges me and its other readers to examine our looking away — and to examine our compulsion to avoid thinking about or theorizing that looking away. An interactive criticism takes as its subject criticism and so must be unabashed about the many lovely (and not so lovely) shapes of that criticism. Sometimes, the shape of that criticism is a hole or a gap, one we can only hollar into."
jessestommel  books  reading  howweread  text  haptic  touch  rolandbarthes  texture  markdanielewski  2014  lauramarks  katherinehayles  ebooks  space  narraive  storytelling  jeffreyjeromecohen  seanmichaelmorris  echolocation  interactivecriticism  hapticcriticism 
february 2014 by robertogreco
STET | Attention, rhythm & weight
"For better or worse, we live in a world of media invention. Instead of reusing a stable of forms over and over, it’s not much harder for us to create new ones. Our inventions make it possible to explore the secret shape of our subject material, to coax it into saying more.

These new forms won’t follow the rules of the scroll, the codex, or anything else that came before, but we can certainly learn from them. We can ask questions from a wide range of influences — film, animation, video games, and more. We can harvest what’s still ripe today, and break new ground when necessary.

Let’s begin."

[See also: http://publishingperspectives.com/2013/10/books-in-browsers-iv-why-we-should-not-imitate-snowfall/ and video of Allen's talk at Books in Browsers 2013 (Day 2 Session 1) http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/40164570 ]
allentan  publishing  writing  internet  web  timcarmody  2013  papermodernism  literacy  fluency  intuitiveness  legibility  metaphor  interaction  howweread  howwewrite  communication  multiliteracies  skills  touch  scrolling  snowfall  immersive  focus  distraction  attention  cinema  cinematic  film  flickr  usability  information  historiasextraordinarias  narrative  storytelling  jose-luismoctezuma  text  reading  multimedia  rhythm  pacing  purpose  weight  animation  gamedesign  design  games  gaming  mediainvention  media 
december 2013 by robertogreco
on reading and flux - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
"He then goes on to define high, medium, and low flux, and to describe some situations in which one or the other might be called for.

All this has me thinking about the degree of flux appropriate to different reading experiences. This seems to me highly variable according to genre and purpose. For instance, the New Republic’s iPad app is designed to offer higher flux than other magazine apps I’ve seen, which are minimally interactive: here you have poems that you can use your finger to slide into view, taps that activate deeper levels of content, and so on. Sometimes it’s too much, and at other times it takes too long to figure out how a given story works — they vary more than they ought to — but in general I like it. A good deal of thought has gone into the design, and moe often than not the interactions are appropriate to the particular story and help me to engage more fully with it.

But I would never want to read Anna Karenina this way. The kind of concentration demanded by a long, complex, serious novel cannot bear much, if any, flux. And unnecessary flux can readily be avoided by reading it in a codex — hooray for that! But if people do gradually shift more and more towards reading on some kind of screen or another, and screens become increasingly capable of variable degrees of flux (as e-ink screens currently are not), then we readers will be ever more dependent on designers who possess a deep sensitivity to context and purpose — pixel-based designers who are widely, as a matter of basic professional competence, as flexible and nuanced in their design languages as the best print-based designers are today. Or, at the very least, they’ll need to build in the possibility of opting out of their fluxier interfaces. As someone who’s headed for a more screen-based reading future, I’m a little naevous about all this."
flux  plasticity  alanjacobs  2013  frankchimero  text  reading  howweread  context  purpose 
november 2013 by robertogreco
RSA - The App Generation: identity, intimacy and imagination in the digital era
"Professor Howard Gardner explores the challenges facing today's young people as they navigate three vital areas of adolescent life - identity, intimacy and imagination - in a digital world. How can we ensure that new technologies act as a springboard to greater creativity and higher aspiration?"

[Direct link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTqY-a2kvk8 ]
howardgardner  education  generations  digital  digitalage  2013  creativity  imagination  writing  technology  identity  intimacy  texting  openstudioproject  lcproject  gettinglost  vulnerability  visual  text  graphicarts  empathy  constraints  freedom 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Identify Yourself
"At its core function, the Internet is a tool for the communication of information, whether factual or fictional. It has allowed us access to knowledge we would have otherwise never known, at a rate that we could have never achieved with printed materials. Each tool that we have developed to spread information has exponentially increased the speed at which it travels, leading to bursts of creativity and collaboration that have accelerated human development and accomplishment. The wired Internet at broadband speeds allows us to consume content so fast that any delay causes us to balk and whine. Wireless Internet made this information network portable and extended our range of knowledge beyond the boundaries of offices and libraries and into the world. Mobile devices have completely transformed our consumption of information, putting tiny computers in our pockets and letting us petition the wishing well of the infoverse.

Many people say this access has made us impatient, and I agree. But I also believe it reveals an innate hunger. We are now so dependent on access to knowledge at these rapid speeds that any lull in our consumption feels like a wasted moment. The currency of the information appears at all levels of society. From seeing new television shows to enjoying free, immediate access to new scientific publications that could impact your life’s work, this rapid transmission model has meaning and changes lives. We have access to information when we are waiting for an oil change and in line for coffee. While we can choose to consume web junk, as many often will, there is also a wealth of human understanding and opinions, academic texts, online courses, and library archives that can be accessed day and night, often for free."



While many seem to experience their Internet lives as a separate space of reality, I have always felt that the two were inextricable. I don’t go on the Internet; I am in the Internet and I am always online. I have extended myself into the machines I carry with me at all times. This space is continually shifting and I veer to adjust, applying myself to new media, continually gathering and recording data about myself, my relationships, my thoughts. I am a immaterial database of memory and hypertext, with invisible links in and out between the Internet and myself.

THE TEXT OBJECT
I would sit for as long as I could and devour information. It was not uncommon for me to devour a book in a single day, limiting all bodily movement except for page-turning, absolutely rapt by whatever I was reading. I was honored to be literate and sure that my dedication to knowledge would lead to great things. I was addicted to the consumption and processing of that information. It frustrated me that I could not read faster and process more. The form of the book provided me structured, linear access to information, with the reward for my attention being a complete and coherent story or idea.

Access to computers and the Internet completely changed the way that I consumed information and organized ideas in my head. I saw information stacked on top of itself in simultaneity, no longer confined to spatiotemporal dimensions of the book. This information was editable, and I could copy, paste, and cut text and images from one place to the next, squirreling away bits that felt important to me. I suddenly understood how much of myself I was finding through digital information."



"There is a system, and there are people within this system. I am only one of them, but I value deeply the opportunities this space grants me, and the wealth contained within it. We must fight to keep the Internet safe and open. Though it has already lost the magical freedom and democracy that existed in the days of the early web, we must continue to put our best minds to work using this extensive network of machines to aid us. Technology gives us so much, and we put so much of ourselves back into it, but we must always remember that we made the web and it will always be tied to us as humans, with our vast range of beauty and ugliness.

I only know my stories, my perspective, but it feels important to take note during this new technical Renaissance, to try and capture the spirit of this shift. I am vastly inspired by the capabilities of my tiny iPhone, my laptop, and all the software contained therein. This feeling is empowerment. The empowerment to learn, to create, and to communicate is something I’ve always felt is at the core of art-making, to be able to translate a complex idea or feeling into some contained or open form. Even the most simple or ethereal works have some form; the body, the image, the object. The file, the machine, the URL, these are all just new vessels for this spirit to be contained.

The files are beautiful, but I move to nominate the Internet as “sublime,” because when I stare into the glass precipice of my screen, I am in awe of the vastness contained within it, the micro and macro, simultaneously hard and technical and soft and human. Most importantly, it feels alive—with constant newness and deepening history, with endless activity and variety. May we keep this spirit intact and continue to explore new vessels into which we can pour ourselves, and reform our identities, shifting into a new world of Internet natives."

[Available as book: http://www.lulu.com/shop/krystal-south/identify-yourself/paperback/product-21189499.html ]
[About page: http://idyrself.com/about.html ]
internet  online  krystalsouth  howweread  howwewrite  atemporality  simultaneity  text  books  internetasliterature  reading  writing  computing  impatience  information  learning  unbook  copypasteculture  mutability  change  sharing  editing  levmanovich  computers  software  technology  sorting  files  taxonomy  instagram  flickr  tagging  folksonomy  facebook  presence  identity  web2.0  language  communication  internetasfavoritebook 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Visualizing Variation: Animated Variants
"An important early claim made for digital scholarly editions was that they don't force editors and readers into choosing one variant over another. Instead of creating an implicit or explicit hierarchy of rejected variants subordinated to a single, supposedly authoritative reading, it was thought that digital editions could represent variants dynamically, presenting their ambiguity to readers not as a problem to solve, but as a field of interpretive possibility. Very few digital editions, however, have realized this possibility in their interfaces. One thing a digital visualization can do is make a virtue of ambiguity in ways that print cannot, combining the elements of time and motion to represent variants in ways that challenge the idea that texts are fixed and immutable.

This group of prototypes uses animation to cycle between different textual variants, presenting them as a field of possibilities to readers, and hopefully inviting readers to consider the evidence for and consequences of different possibilities. Animated variants also drive home the simple yet unsettling point that textual transmission is more often a matter of change than fixity: texts sometimes change even when readers aren't looking.

The Animated Variants visualization was inspired partly by debates in Shakespearean editorial theory and partly by born-digital poetry, especially the early computer poems of bpNicol. Although the first prototype of this visualization was developed with Shakespearean examples in mind, my plan is to generalize them to handle as many different kinds of variation as possible. The single prototype posted here will likely become a group of visualizations that handle many different kinds of textual variation, including variants in words, phrases, lineation, stage directions, and manuscript revisions. For now I have posted a simple first version that cycles between variant words and phrase, as shown in the box above."

[via: http://snarkmarket.com/2013/8153#comment-10614 ]
alangaley  text  variations  language  xml  webdev  css  javascript  change  flux  plasticity  translation  expandingtext  digitalsertão  animatedvariants  stackingwords  auditiontext  webdesign 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Wordplay — I.M.H.O. — Medium
"I work in digital publishing and I love what I do. Yet for fun, I “play videogames” as much as I “read books.” This still carries a stigma, as if I’m wasting my time with idle pursuits instead of bettering myself through literature. The fact is, a lot of the books I read are kinda trashy, but most of the games I play are pretty good.

I like to play videogames and read books, but more than that, I like to play videogames that are like books. As a little girl in the 1980s, literally the best thing that could happen to me — like, the event that would send me into paroxysms of delight—was the release of a new text-based adventure game. Adventure games were better than dolls, which I hated, or sports, which I sucked at, or movies or books, which were fine but clearly legacy forms of entertainment that, at age 11 or so, I already regarded as so totally over.

It didn’t actually work out that way, though. For reasons that are better documented elsewhere, text adventures weren’t the future of novels, CD-ROMs weren’t the future of non-fiction, and for a tiresome collection of mundane reasons, the meteoric rise of ebooks hasn’t been accompanied by a flowering of interactive experimentation from traditional authors and publishers.

But quietly, games have been filling that gap."

[See also: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/11/this-video-game-could-revolutionize-publishing-and-reading/281765/ ]
lizdaly  device6  blackbar  versu  games  gaming  videogames  ebooks  2013  reading  text 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Webstock '13: Jason Kottke - I built a web app (& you can too) on Vimeo
See also: http://stellar-status.tumblr.com/post/62923078635/in-february-i-spoke-at-the-webstock-conference-in

"In February, I spoke at the Webstock conference in Wellington, New Zealand. My talk was called “I built a web app (& you can too)” and was about how I built Stellar.

In the final third of the talk, I discussed the future of the site and the difficult time I was having with my motivation. At the time, I honestly didn’t know if I would continue developing for the site or even hosting it. The process of giving the talk was very helpful in helping me figure out that, yes, I did want to keep Stellar going. My first code check-in in several months occurred just a week or two after I got back from NZ and I’ve been working steadily on it ever since.

ps. Webstock is a wonderful conference. I don’t know if they’re doing it next year or not, but if they do, you should go.

pps. Oh man, I am not a good public speaker. I’m a little embarrassed watching this, even beyond the usual “that’s what my voice sounds like?” reaction. I feel like I had a compelling story to tell, I just didn’t tell it very well. Next time — if there is a next time — I will do better."

[Also here: http://www.webstock.org.nz/talks/i-built-a-web-app-you-can-too/ ]
stellar  stellar.io  favorites  favoriting  likes  socialmedia  vimeo  flickr  tumblr  twitter  slowhunches  streams  webstock  2013  webapps  aggregation  youtube  online  internet  motivation  facebook  jasonkottke  liking  making  process  text  faving 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Blackbar for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad on the iTunes App Store
"Blackbar is a text game: a sci-fi story of a dystopian future told through the medium of word puzzles. Reminiscent of text adventures and interactive fiction, it has a unique mechanic centered around the concept of censorship. Censorship is frustrating, but the human spirit can beat that frustration by turning it into a game.

You'll pick up and understand Blackbar instantly; however, its challenges will keep you searching, trying, and thinking for days."
games  ios  toplay  nevenmrgan  2013  text  sciencefiction  scifi  puzzles  dystopia  wordpuzzles  words  language  gaming 
september 2013 by robertogreco
Pandoc - About pandoc
"If you need to convert files from one markup format into another, pandoc is your swiss-army knife. Pandoc can convert documents in markdown, reStructuredText, textile, HTML, DocBook, LaTeX, or MediaWiki markup to

• HTML formats: XHTML, HTML5, and HTML slide shows using Slidy, Slideous, S5, or DZSlides.
• Word processor formats: Microsoft Word docx, OpenOffice/LibreOffice ODT, OpenDocument XML
• Ebooks: EPUB version 2 or 3, FictionBook2
• Documentation formats: DocBook, GNU TexInfo, Groff man pages
• TeX formats: LaTeX, ConTeXt, LaTeX Beamer slides
• PDF via LaTeX
• Lightweight markup formats: Markdown, reStructuredText, AsciiDoc, MediaWiki markup, Emacs Org-Mode, Textile

Pandoc understands a number of useful markdown syntax extensions, including document metadata (title, author, date); footnotes; tables; definition lists; superscript and subscript; strikeout; enhanced ordered lists (start number and numbering style are significant); running example lists; delimited code blocks with syntax highlighting; smart quotes, dashes, and ellipses; markdown inside HTML blocks; and inline LaTeX. If strict markdown compatibility is desired, all of these extensions can be turned off."
pandoc  conversion  html  epub  latex  pdf  html5  onlinetoolkit  ebooks  documents  markdown  text  tools  epublishing  digitalpublishing  epubs 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Erica Scourti
"Erica Scourti was born in Athens, Greece in 1980 and now lives in London. After a year studying Chemistry at UCL, an art and fashion foundation and a year of Fine Art Textiles at Goldsmiths, she completed her BA in Fine Art at Middlesex University in 2003 and has just completed (June 2013) a Research degree (Masters) in Moving Image Art at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art & Design, run in conjunction with LUX. Her area of research was the figure of the female fool in performative video works and the mediated subject of networked capital.

She works with video, performance, online and with text, and has shown internationally at the Museo Reine Sofia, Kunstmuseum Bonn and Jeu de Paume Museum, as well as festivals such as Recontres Internationales and Impakt as well as extensively in the UK, most recently at Banner Repeater, Grand Union, New Bridge Project, Enclave, ICA

She has completed residencies at Can Serrat International Arts Centre, Barcelona, I-Park Artists’ Enclave, USA; LOW&HIGH, Folkestone, UK, LABA film workshop, Athens, Vermont Studio Center, USA (April 2012), and at The Guesthouse, Cork (September 2012) ."
ericascourti  ncmideas  art  artists  video  performance  text  newmedia  online  internet  web  socialmedia  communication  mediation  networkedcapital  openstudioproject 
august 2013 by robertogreco
this is tomorrow - A Small Hiccup
"If you have ever spent any time considering how language mutates, from marvelling at how swiftly neologisms like ‘omnishambles’ enter the dictionary to bemoaning how IAU (incessant acronym use) is degrading the English language, then maybe it will not be too great a leap for you to imagine a world in which language itself has become diseased. ‘Pontypool’ (2008), a low budget horror film, which does what ambitious low budget horror should by working within its limited means to convey a disturbing but compelling idea, introduces a new form of viral infection: a linguistic disease spread through speech.

George Vasey takes inspiration from ‘Pontypool’ in curating ‘A Small Hiccup’, a travelling exhibition, events programme, publication and online commission exploring ‘diseased language’. This multi-format approach allows for an impressive number of manifestations of such a disease to be pursued, moving across page, screen, airwaves, internet and beyond to ask, ‘Is it always good to talk?’

The exhibition, which launched at Grand Union in Birmingham and will travel on to The Newbridge Project in Newcastle, and later in event-form to Limoncello, London, features newly commissioned works by Jeremy Hutchison, Leah Lovett, Fay Nicolson & Oliver Smith, Siôn Parkinson, Erica Scourti, Simon Senn, Holly Pester and Charlie Woolley, who variously take on the idea of compromised speech. The artists instigate and investigate moments within which the instability of language is demonstrated; its quirks, limitations and failings, the moments when the ‘small hiccup’ disrupts the flow and leaves the meaning obscured.

For a show about communication the gallery is strangely hushed, the works holding a polite distance from each other and often requiring a careful approach and examination to discern that anything is being said to you at all. Erica Scourti’s ‘Unsent Letters’ are like magic eye puzzles, for which the viewer must relax into a hazy half-focus in order to receive their corrupted message; as what has been written becomes clear it remains ambiguous as to whether the words have been degraded by force of emotion or encrypted against detection.

Every five minutes Holly Pester’s ‘News Piece’ murmurs into life from a pair of speakers, delivering a short sing-song cut-up of this week’s affairs, the words washing over you until a fragment of a recognisable news item emerges from the fog. Similarly riffing on the media, Fay Nicholson and Oliver Smith crunch the news down to symbols printed in punkt pro, a coded font, on a series of tabloid newsprint posters, paring down the already absurdly succinct headlines of the red tops to a series of icons: a Newspeak for the emoticon generation.

The publication, designed by An Endless Supply and printed in newspaper format, extends out the pool of contributors to take in further artists alongside writers and curators. In this format Vasey poses two questions: ‘What does it mean to miscommunicate?’ and ‘Can mistranslation be a productive situation?’ with the ‘answers’ across the subsequent pages building up a dense and intermittently incomprehensible visual babble of cartoon sketches, screen grabs and ventriloquism.

While some areas of the project seem to be bursting at the seams, the central exhibition is more sparing and maintains a varied pace, landing a few heavy hitting one-liners but for the most part allowing for a slower unveiling of meaning, requiring an in-depth reading rather than a skim across the surface. The newspaper, along with the project’s Tumblr blog of extra-curricular materials, feel entirely necessary to hold the curator’s expansive research, which develops the themes of the exhibition even as it pulls them loose into all sorts of tangential directions. This is a highly engaging project for the most part due to its velocity; the huge enthusiasm that the curator shows to keep piling in and travelling on, creates a feeling of near infinite possibility, the elasticity of language being its only potential limitation."
newspaperclub  jeremyhutchison  leahlovett  faynicolson  oliversmith  siônparkinson  ericascourti  simonsenn  hollypester  charliewoolley  georgevasey  art  exhibitions  communication  language  text  neologisms  deathoflanguage  anendlesssupply  elasticity  newmedia  glvo  projectideas  tumblr  curation 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Scott Rettberg | read the web
"A native of the Chicago area, Scott Rettberg is associate professor of digital culture in the department of linguistic, literary and aesthetic studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. Rettberg is the author or co-author of novel-length works of electronic literature including The Unknown, Kind of Blue, and Implementation. His work has been exhibited online and at art venues, including the Beall Center in Irvine California, the Slought Foundation in Philadelphia, and The Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois. Rettberg is the cofounder and served as the first executive director of the non-profit Electronic Literature Organization, where he directed major projects funded by the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. Rettberg is currently the Project Leader of the HERA-funded collaborative research project ELMCIP: Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice."

[text from: http://elmcip.net/person/scott-rettberg ]

[See also: https://vimeo.com/user763047 ]

[via: http://www.blurb.com/b/3442475-implementation
http://nickm.com/implementation/ ]
scottrettberg  elmcip  writing  digitalculture  art  literature  text 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Mass + Text
Text from the about page: http://massandtext.tumblr.com/post/51958922935/what-is-mass-text ]

"Mass + Text wants to understand the relationship between language (analogue and digital signals), physical objects, and the communities they anchor. I’m curious about how we translate thought into form, and back again.

Mass + Text happened because I like words, and I like the idea that objects are a byproduct of their cultural context. I think there’s an interesting back and forth between said things and made things, and this is an attempt to think-through-writing till I make some sense of it.

I’m not quite sure what I’m doing, but I’m going to scratch this itch anyway. What I do know is that the emergence of ubiquitous computing is going to bring together language and objects in weird and interesting ways, with implications for architecture, media, journalism, consumer technology, and fashion. This is my attempt to begin to make some sense of it.

***

The ease with which we’re able to summon and dismiss texts on glowing rectangles makes us forget that language isn’t weightless. The ways in which we call out and respond to each other are deeply anchored within physical things. Heavy things. We make meaning by spilling oceans of ink, crushing mountains of herbs and minerals into pigments, and by sliding slabs of quivering muscle against each other.

And even when we summon an idea from the depths of cyberspace,and it leaps onto our screens, that idea is bound to this plane by physical objects. Language exists within at least three dimensions.

So if language can shape mass (indeed, if language is mass), what will new forms of communication mean for the things we build, and the way we build? Can we incorporate content into spaces and objects in ways that go beyond merely turning them into display screens? How does this communication influence our relationships with our tools?

With ourselves?

***

Areas of interest:

• the evolution of media and journalism: what does it mean that ESPN is interested in the data being harvested from wearable tech such as the Jawbone UP? If the medium is the message, how will media companies design for wearable computing devices that have very little room for display screens?

• internet-connected devices: the coming wave of “smart" devices offers an opportunity to rethink everything from how these objects look to what they do. How do you design analog/digital interfaces that take into account qualities of mass such as weight, texture and temperature?

• architecture: we can speak to our spaces, and our spaces can speak back (through location-based Foursquare tips, geo-triggered alerts, changing room temperature to suit our personal profile, etc.). The built form is how we interface with the city, and changes to that form have implications for everything from our ideas about privacy, community, and to discussions about who has the right to the city.

• fashion: we know clothing can be language, but the use cases of clothing-as-tool have been surprisingly few, i.e. clothing can keep us warm, and they offer some measure of protection from weapons, but that’s about it. How can we make clothing even more useful? And how will those utilitarian scripts be reflected in aesthetics?

• histories of communication: everywhere mass intersects with text, an idea finds its way into our world, be it when a finger strikes against a keyboard, or when someone’s vocal chords rub together. I want to understand that threshold, liminal space where a concept is impregnated within an object, and given form."
text  communication  objects  emmanuelquartey  language  digital  communities  community  blogs  ubicomp  internetofthings  networkedobjects  senses  media  journalism  wearable  technology  jawbone  architecture  design  fashion  history  interfaces  ux  mobile  smartdevices  analog  wearables  iot 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Zeega
"Zeega is revolutionizing interactive storytelling for a future beyond blogs. Zeegas are a new form of interactive media, enabling anyone to easily combine animated GIFs, audio, images, text and video from across the web.

We’re living in a unique moment. More media than ever is recorded and shared. But the web today is dominated by a few platforms - all stories start to feel the same, trapped in rigid boxes and long lists. Zeega is ushering in an era when the web truly becomes an interactive, audiovisual medium made by everyone.

Interactive Storytelling
Everyone wants to tell stories that allow viewers to interact, but to remain captivated. A great example is how this blog post about urban explorer Steve Duncan is transformed into this Zeega [http://zeega.com/51818 ] that allows you to travel with him beneath New York, Paris and other cities. Or this recent report by NewsHour on the current debates of gun control.

Creating Memories
Anyone can use Zeega to create lasting artifacts of their favorite experiences. A scrolling list of photos on Tumblr, a stream of Instagrams or a photo set on Facebook simply doesn’t fill the same need for narrative memories like the old treasured scrapbook.

One our recent favorites is How I Got To Boston, a personal story of the post-college years.

Playing with the Web
Zeega is also a great platform for playing with the web. A large part of the community is starting to really get into making “audioGIFs,” simple combinations of animations and audio."

[via: https://vimeo.com/66603842 ]
zeega  storytelling  onlinetoolkit  blogging  interactive  media  multimedia  gifs  audio  images  text  video  audiovisual 
may 2013 by robertogreco
PowellsBooks.Blog – Q&A;: Mark Z. Danielewski - Powell's Books
"The way many tablets automatically alter fonts, for example, or authorize the reader to select from a limited list, disregards a tradition, centuries old, of designing and carefully selecting a type design. And it's a tradition not born out of constriction and control, I think, but expression and the aesthetics of sense and beauty. We both know how much time goes into designing a book. Personally, I go through hundreds of fonts before choosing one. And that's just the start: margin size matters (put that on a T-shirt!). Folios. Colors, of course. Not to mention how the book as an object sits in the reader's hand…

How is meaning altered if a book is typeset in Legacy instead of Garamond or Minion? How is meaning altered if word density is constant? If ink color is uniform? If there is no cover?"

[So much more, read on…]
print  images  text  art  expression  bookcovers  edg  srg  glvo  bookfuturism  interviews  2012  via:bobbygeorge  markdanielewski  tablets  ebooks  digital  bookdesign  design  books  petermendelsund 
october 2012 by robertogreco
Rediscovering Literacy [Way too much here, quotes are from only the beginning]
"Literacy used to be a very subtle concept that meant linguistic sophistication. It used to denote a skill that could be developed to arbitrary levels of refinement through practice.  Literacy meant using mastery over language — both form and content — to sustain a relentless and increasingly sophisticated pursuit of greater meaning. It was about an appreciative, rather than instrumental use of language. Language as a means of seeing rather than as a means of doing…

The written form itself was merely a convenience…

Before Gutenberg, you demonstrated true literacy not by reading a text out aloud and taking down dictation accurately, but through exposition and condensation.

You were considered literate if you could take a classic verse and expound upon it at length (exposition) and take an ambiguous idea and distill its essence into a terse verbal composition (condensation)…

the fundamental learned behaviors that constitute literacy, not reading and writing…"

[Update: Adding the final portion to this bookmark]

"This might sound like engineering elitism, but I find that the only large classes of people who appear to actually think in clearly literate ways today are mathematicians and programmers. But they typically only do so in very narrow domains.

To learn to think with language, to become literate in the sense of linguistically sophisticated, you must work hard to unlearn everything built on the foundation of literacy-as-reading-and-writing.

Because modern education is not designed to produce literate people. It is designed to produce programmable people. And this programmability requires less real literacy with every passing year. Today, genuinely literate reading and writing are specialized arts. Increasingly, even narrowly instrumental read-write literacy is becoming unnecessary (computers can do both very well).

These are not stupid people. You only have to listen to a child delightedly reciting supercalifragilisticexpialidocious or indulging in other childish forms of word-play to realize that raw skill with language is a native capability in the human brain. It must be repressed by industrial education since it seeks natural expression.

So these are not stupid people. These are merely ordinary people who have been lobotomized via the consumerization of language, delivered via modern education.

We dimly realize that we have lost something. But appreciation for the sophistication of oral cultures mostly manifests itself as mindless reverence for traditional wisdom. We look back at the works of ancients and deep down, wonder if humans have gotten fundamentally stupider over the centuries.

We haven’t. We’ve just had some crucial meme-processing software removed from our brains.

Towards a Literacy Renaissance

This is one of the few subjects about which I am not a pessimist. I believe that something strange is happening. Genuine literacy is seeing a precarious rebirth.

The best of today’s tweets seem to rise above the level of mere bon mots (“gamification is the high-fructose corn syrup of user engagement”) and achieve some of the cryptic depth of esoteric verse forms of earlier ages.

The recombinant madness that is the fate of a new piece of Internet content, as it travels, has some of the characteristics of the deliberate forms of recombinant recitation practiced by oral culture.

The comments section of any half-decent blog is a meaning factory.

Sites like tvtropes.org are sustaining basic literacy skills.

The best of today’s stand-up comics are preserving ancient wordplay skills.

But something is still missing: the idea that literacy is a cultivable skill. That dense, terse thoughts are not just serendipitous finds on the discursive journeys of our brains, but the product of learnable exposition and condensation skills.

I suppose paying attention to these things, and actually attempting to work with archaic forms like maxims and aphorisms in 2012 is something of a quixotic undertaking. When you can store a terbayte of information (about 130,000 books, or about 50% larger than a typical local public library) on a single hard-disk words can seem cheap.

But try reading some La Rochefoucauld, or even late hold outs like Oliver Wendell Holmes and J. B. S. Haldane, and you begin to understand what literacy is really about. The cost of words is not the cost of storing them or distributing, but the cost of producing them. Words are cheap today because we put little effort into their production, not because we can store and transmit as much as we like.

It is as yet too early to declare a literacy renaissance, but one can hope."
production  jbshaldane  oliverwendellholmes  larochefoucauld  words  aphorisms  comprehension  jargon  wisdom  knowledge  banter  citation  correspondence  conversation  self-indulgence  technology  printing  web  content  composition  civilization  memorization  oralculture  creativedestruction  recitation  history  highculture  popculture  culture  internet  education  2012  gutenberg  text  understanding  condensation  exposition  literacy  communication  language  writing  reading  venkateshrao  unschooling  deschooling  moderneducation  schools 
september 2012 by robertogreco
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