Extra Credit

If there are digital media-related events this semester that will count for extra credit, this is where you will post your 300+ word accounts. These are due by the last day of class but ideally you’ll write and post them immediately after the event. It’ll be useful for us to hear about events we don’t all make it to and hear about what you learned!

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4 thoughts on “Extra Credit

  1. Yesterday I went to Veronica Villafane’s presentation, “How Digital Media Democratized Journalism and Amplified A Diversity of Voices.” She is the former president of National Association of Hispanic Journalists and recently created her own platform called “Media Moves”. After many years in the journalism field she noticed the lack of diversity around her. This is what drove her to join support groups for Latino journalists and speak out on the subject. Her talk was about the surge in original content posted on the Internet and the rise in minority groups that have made their own unique news outlets. She believes that this has increased the sense of democracy in the digital media world and gives more diverse views a chance to be heard. There are currently over a billion active websites and the number is increasing every day. Some people believe that this online clutter can be negative since everything shared is not always reliable. “Fake news” has become a recent buzzword that leads people to think maybe this development is not beneficial. Veronica believes that while there are some negative aspects, there are many more positive things that can come from it. Readers need to be accountable for themselves and the sources that they pull information from. With all of this new free content, the most reliable sources of newspapers and other established news outlets are quickly becoming obsolete. The biggest problem in the industry right now is how these companies can continue to make money when the public has developed the expectation that news should be free. She drew attention to the fact that millions of people happily pay monthly rates to sites such as Netflix or Hulu to receive their entertainment, yet we grumble about sites like The New York Times establishing paywalls on their websites. Print is slowly becoming extinct and the newspaper industry is trying to keep up with the digital age. There is no one solution to fix this problem, but she is optimistic that the increase in all the minority outlets will help to keep the public wholly informed and more diversified than it has been in the past.

  2. For this assignment, I went to go see the Adding Machine. I believe this play encapsulates society’s fear around technology. The basic premise of the show is that a disgruntled worker, Zero, loses his job due to the company’s new adding machine. Angered by the fact that he’s given his whole life to the company, he violently kills his boss. The plot then follows him through the afterlife where he eventually passes up heaven to work his old job. Then, he is sent back to earth to work another mundane life with more mundane work. All the characters in the play have numbers for names and they walk and act like rhythmic robots. The main theme through this plot is an insidious universal relationship between man and machine. The tension in the work operates on the fear that we are no different from technology. In fact, we can be replaced by machines. And, we are void of anything that separates us from them. As McLuhan would say, machines are simply extensions of the self. This loss of boundaries between the human and the machine makes any humanist uncomfortable. If humans are at the top of society, why are machines able to match us or surpass us? Of course, the post-modernists like Donna Haraway embrace this model. She sees the cyborg nature of humanity to be a source of change and revolution. For me, the truth seems to be somewhere in the middle. Our relationship to technology cannot necessarily be good or bad. Our sense of self has forever been altered by the creations we have made. If we define our sense of self against things, we set ourselves up for sensitive egos. An ego that would kill someone over losing a job to a machine. On the other hand, maybe there is something to say about humanity being more special than an adding machine. Who knows?

  3. We often mimic the look of the text found from the typewriter style, but typewriting itself is seemed to be a lost art. The first typewriter was created in 1874. Overtime pieces were added to the keyboard to make it more user friendly, slowly pieces such as the shift key, the tab key and aspects such as character size were added on. Typewriters use a carbon ribbon paper to make the ink mark on the paper, this ribbon is hit by the stamped letter. The ribbon is wound and wound back after passing the printing point. The ribbon is feed one letter space at a time. They are coated on one side with carbon paper ink and a wax base. The ribbon paper can easily be worn down or rip so they are replaced often. The layout of the keys on the keyboard are referred to as the “QWERTY” keyboard. This is not the most efficient for English because commonly used letters are spread between different rows of the keyboard. There are different versions of the “QWERTY” keyboard for different languages. Over time the typewriter has become more advanced, it began with adding useful tools such as a thesaurus on the electronic typewriters and other things such as spell check that came about in the 1900’s. In the media archeology lab there are multiple different type writer that can be found. One thing I found interesting was the touch selector, this switch changes how lightly or harsh keys can be pressed pending on the style of the typer. Also on the right of the Smith Corona Sterling there is the switch to change the color of the texts. It was interesting to look at the side by side of a newer and older version of a Smith-Corona between the Sterling and the Coronamatic. The Coronamatic had more options for the touch control and it was set up differently than the older version with a dial than a metal switch, the impression key on the newer version is used to create multiple copies of the same document. This allows the paper to be stamped hard enough to go through multiple pieces without you having to change the rate of how hard you have to press on the keys. In ways the keyboard from typewriting still exists in a different format but the typewriter itself is no longer being produced for the consumers everyday use. They have become a lost art. We have turned the font into something used on word used for things such as poetry, or writing to show a minimalist look.

  4. For my extra credit assignment I visited the media archeology lab. In the media archeology lab there are many sources of media to play around with. It ranges from typewriters to nintendo gaming consuls. I chose to focus my attention on the typewriter though. I was able to play around with the typewriters; the media archeology lab has one working one with actual ink in it. I did my presentation on these typewriters making them even more interesting. There are many negative aspects of them that I realized while using them. Though I enjoyed using the typewriters I continued to get frustrated due to the fact that you cannot backspace while you are using it. This eliminates the possibility of removing your mistakes. It is like removing the eraser from the pencil. Also it was annoying to have to reset the page every time you hit the end of it. You would have to hit the metal bar and pull the bar to reset the paper and enter a new line. It was also weird to be writing on a piece of paper without using a pencil. Your thoughts appear on the paper, but you are not actually writing it. This is something I talked about in my power point but was never able to actually experience it. When you are typing as an act of writing you get an effect of disembodiment. Your hands are in one place moving but the words and writing are coming out in a different place. This means that you are actually creating a information space that is separate from the body. This is called a protocyberspace.
    Learning to type on these machines were difficult for many and now I understand why. It takes a lot longer to type on a typewriter than it does to write with a pencil. It is frustrating that you are unable to make mistakes as well. Bosses expected to have their employees be able to produce words at a much faster speed but I feel that writing is actually a better, faster, and more accurate way to produce words on a paper. Being able to actually use the typewriter was a very interesting experience, but I prefer paper and pencil or a laptop.

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