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Blog 9

 

Welcome to the last blog!! 🙂

I wrote about blogging, and my feelings about blogging in a previous blog, so I will spare repeating myself.  For the last entry I am going to focus on my Section Three, and the Great Firewall of China (as I have been promising you in previous blogs!)  So far, this is the important stuff I have learned concerning my topic:  Apparently the “Great Firewall of China” is not something new, China has been cracking down on censoring the Internet for at least a decade.  Internet freedom is therefore in control of the government, and as an article in the Wall Street Journal explains (from Landow) “China is determined to do what conventional wisdom suggests is impossible: Join the information age while restricting access to information.” The Chinese people have been subjected to the government’s control in other ways as well.  Cameras have been placed in places such as cafes to monitor web users, and to keep “an eye” on what the users are doing on the internet.  If an internet user reaches a site that is censored, they either receive a message telling them the page is not accessible, they receive a blank screen, or are redirected elsewhere (to another site). 

Through the filtering of technology, search engines such as google, sites such as myspace and facebook, are disabled and restricted from the Chinese people.  Furthermore, the “Great Firewall of China” basically consists of a list of tabooed words and phrases embedded into users laptops and cell phones.  If these forbidden words or phrases are caught in the filtering, many times the internet search, email, or conversation never reaches the intended destination.  This, as you can imagine, arouses many issues on government censorship, and raises many concerns about government control.  This concludes my segment on the “Great Firewall of China”, for more info see Section Three of my website.

Due to the fact that this is my last blog for this class, I would like to mention that I feel I have gained a lot of new knowledge throughout the journey of writing for the web.   Thank you again for everyone’s comments, insights, and encouragement.  It has been fun learning a new medium in which to write, I look forward to seeing everyone’s websites at the end of the semester!

Well, that’s all for this semester 🙂

Jill

Blog 8

 

I am planning on uploading sound today, and then Section Two will pretty much be complete.  I am thankful I was able to collaborate two of my classes.  I have created a mini version of a Shakespeare dictionary, with pages that a reader can “flip” through.  Then I created a neat hypertext activity that allows readers to interact with some of Shakespeare’s famous quotes from the plays I have read this semester. I chose very specific behaviors to enhance the meaning of the quotes and to engage readers.  Some of the quotes disappear, some of the line grow (as if they were “shouting”, like the effect in my Box poem), and some of the lines have other attributes such as color and shake movements.

My Shakespeare class and this Writing for the Web class seem like such opposite extremes (considering the “technologies” used in both ages). .  . however, what amazes me through the journey of reading Shakespeare, and creating a website (all in one semester), is how a work from a very different century can withstand the test of time, adapt, and be relevant in the next time period.  Little did Shakespeare know his works were going to be accessible through the internet!  As Landow has emphasized in many of the readings, the foundation of technology has always been present, but we are constantly adapting and changing, growing and expanding.

Lastly, in the next blog I will be focusing on the Great Firewall of China.  All I basically know at this point is that the Chinese government has an alarming amount of control over the Chinese people.  Perhaps this will be the “persuasive” part of my essay. . .I will focus on this concept of “control”.  I do know that sites such as google, facebook, and myspace are blocked, and this disturbs me on so many levels.

Blog 7

 

I got behind on my blogs this semester, I know we talked about this in class, and I (as with many of the other students) feel that not having a weekly “deadline” was one of the reasons for my inconsistency.  I kept telling myself I would write at “some point” during the week, but this “telling” never led to my “doing”, and I kept getting further and further behind.  I also don’t felt like writing about my random ideas/progression on my website is all that important to everyone, and this was another reason I didn’t write in as much as I should have.  I like having a specific idea to explore, although I suppose I could have chosen my own “specific” idea on a weekly basis (I am not blaming anyone but myself, I just wanted to present some reasons for my inconsistencies) . . . anyway, the point of all this is that I will be writing in quite a lot this week, and I hope all I present will have some depth to it 🙂

Well, I am completely ecstatic about my Section Two.  It is almost complete and ready to upload for the world to see.  I received awesome feedback on my “Box” poem (thank you guys!). . . but wait until you see my Shakespeare project I have incorporated, sooo much better!  I feel as if I am at a point in the semester where I have really applied almost all of my knowledge (in creating a website) into Section Two (once the Shakespeare part is uploaded).  Through it all, I will probably keep the “Box” poem, since all of you gave insightful and encouraging feedback. 

I think one of the best things about this Writing for the Web course was everyone’s uniqueness!  Everyone’s ideas were so different, and I loved not having restraints on the overall web designing and material choice of this course.  It has been a privilege to basically have free reign all semester, and this “free reign” has taught me a lot.  For example, checking out other student’s websites (ahem, Wilbert) gave me so many new ideas.  I was able to think “hey, if they created that, maybe I could create this”, and I think in this aspect, we all have encouraged one another to grow.  This leads to my anticipation for Section Three!  Since we are able to use CSS, Section Three will be easier to create in terms of design, but the intensity of our argument is going to be were the bulk of our creativity lies.  In one of the next blogs I will be discussing my topic for Section Three more in depth.  Furthermore, now that I have a topic and my sources, I need to choose a point of persuasion. 

That’s all for now, more to come soon!

Blog 6

As we near the end of time spent on Section Two, it has been another journey, for sure!  I feel okay about Section Two at the present moment in time, but it is not going to stand.  I have come up with a whole new plan for this Section, because I now want to collaborate my Shakespeare class with Section Two of my website. I have a synthesis project due for my Shakespeare class, and I think making Shakespeare’s words interactive (with hypertext) would be a challenge–and create an awesome Section Two.  I appreciate all of Hannah’s, Wilbert’s, and Dr. Kearney’s encouragement and insights on Section Two, but I believe collaborating the projects is going to be awesome, so I may get rid of the poem all together.  Now that I understand how to make texts more interactive, and I have a better idea of what works and what does not work, I think the “new and improved” Section Two will be worth the effort 🙂 

Dr. Kearney sparked a fabulous idea for my Section Two/Synthesizing project, and I over the  past several days I have been formulating a whole bunch of ideas.  The only part of the project that I am a little nervous about is the audio.  I have yet to upload any music/sound, and I need to figure out what will work with the pages I will be creating.  However, once all is said and done, I feel Section Two is going to be really fun.  This time around, I can also incorporate more of Landow’s ideas, and “definitions”, because I feel he points out some key elements that help make a webpage better than average. This sums up my thoughts on Section Two for now, keep an eye out for more to come 😉

Blog 5

I have just finished listening to the audacity podcast tutorial, and I have to say, I am feeling pretty confident. I really appreciated the instructions, and the “how to’s” because I am afraid I would have been lost on navigating audacity alone.  When I started watching the first tutorial, I thought it was a tad boring, but the following tutorials were much more interesting. The lecturer recorded his voice and briefly explained how to delete sections (very cool by the way! I had no idea all of this existed!), fade sound, add background music, etc. I don’t feel overwhelmed, and I am looking forward to spending time in the program and figuring out more techniques that were not mentioned.

I still do not know what direction I want to take in regards to creating my own podcast. I could read my favorite poem from my Brit Lit class last year, but I am not sure about that anymore, due to the nature of the poem I am not sure what music to include in the background.  I think adding music, and altering/creating the way the music compliments the voice recording is an essential part of the podcast, so I need to find something to read that fits all of this criteria.  Then I have to choose the genre of music. . . so many decisions! I suppose I should choose the text first though, and then chose the compliments. 

I was checking out the sound recording programs on my computer and I have a better idea of what resources I have at home, and what I can use with audacity.  I think it is crazy how much I don’t even know about my own computer, I mean, there are sound recording programs and DVD creation programs, and I have never ventured to look into them!  It’s kind of like, shame on me, because I think there are a lot of cool things I can create. My excuse has been “not having the time”, but I think another excuse has been “I am not technical enough”, however, if this class is teaching me anything, it is teaching me I can achieve things by working on a computer. . . I am creating my own website, I am having a great time doing it, and I am becoming much more comfortable with this medium.  I am not so intimidated anymore!

Blog 4

Section One (so far!):

I am feeling really good about Section One of my website.  I really love my layout!  I feel like I finally have a really strong foundation, which has taken me a long time to achieve.  I totally scrapped my initial plan for Section One, in fact, I get humor out of looking at my initial plan, in comparison to where my website is at now!  However, I think it was good I planned out how I was going to present my site because I quickly learned what worked and what didn’t work for me.  First of all, I was really excited to use a nature theme, but when I began putting the pieces together on Dreamweaver, I realized I wasn’t satisfied with things. I felt like my theme wasn’t going to be complimentary of the subject I was going to present, so I changed everything. 

I think the hardest part for me was choosing a theme, but once I did, everything else fell into place. However, the most important part of this project so far has been time. Although the Dreamweaver manual has helped in areas when I am completely stumped, many of the things I love about my layout has been learned through trial and error.  For example, I really like to use borders because it’s a great way to accentuate things that are important, but it took me a lot of trial and error to before I was satisfied with the results.  (Perhaps this is an area I need to work on. . . I tend to be a little too picky about things! Eh Hannah? 😉 I love to construct things, and I am really enjoying this new medium because it requires a whole new “creativity” out of me, and not surprisingly, I am very conscious of my work).

What I think is a very fun part of this project is the opportunity to create our ideal website.  Certainly, I do not know an extensive amount about Dreamweaver, and there will still be things I will not know at the end of the semester, but with the manual (and good old time), I have good sources.  What I like about a website, I can incorporate. What I hate about a website, I can avoid.  We really have a blank slate at our fingertips to play with, and create into an awesome project. I am excited because it is beginning to come together nicely.

Blog 3

This blog assignment posed some challenges for me because I didn’t know much about downloading.  I didn’t know a thing about free editing software, the Web 2.0, the Creative Commons licensing, or the GNU project.  When I claimed to be “okay” in computer literacy in the beginning of the course, I meant literacy in navigating the internet, Microsoft word, Power Point Programs, etc; I really did not consider anything beyond that scope.  Therefore, when I began this assignment, I was a little stumped. I do not download things at home, nor do I spend time editing videos, pictures, or music, so this was totally new to me.  I feel my research has presented me a ton of information, and I think I have found some half decent downloading programs for some of the purposes mentioned above.  However, I am excited to read what others post because I am sure some of my classmates will have great websites to share!

I began my search with the basic: Googling “free website backgrounds”.  I found a site that looked reputable, and that was easy to navigate, and I really liked some of the designs the site had to offer.  I think I will be using this site again in the near future.  Moreover, I could use some of the backgrounds for my blog site as well. Here is a link to the free website backgrounds and blog backgrounds.

 A site I found for video editing is here.  I liked this site because it displayed the top 5 free video editing software programs, and I thought this was a good guide for someone like me, who really does not know what they are looking for.

On a side note, I noticed in my search for free software a lot of programs looked to be free, but they really weren’t free.  On several sites, the demo version was free, but in order to continue to use the product, it had to be bought.  I also noticed that on the sites containing downloads that weren’t really free there were software “boxes” for the product.  Like the box you would buy from a store to buy the software program.  They offered consumers the free trial, but then they wanted you to purchase the product and the software. One site I found for site I found that looked to be totally free for the PDF editor was the Hammer site.

However, I did not know the purpose of PDF editors. So I did a little more research and learned PDF editors are helpful in writing annotations, adding text, changing text (fonts, etc) adding/deleting pictures, copying and pasting text, graphics, and pictures from PDF files. That makes much more sense.

Then I located a website that had 11 top photo editor sites for windows, with reviews, layouts, features, and “notes” on ways to be careful online when following a link to a “free” download. It seemed as though the site really had the consumer in mind.  Again, I liked how the editors were listed, and showed options, for people like me, who need to learn what the products have to offer.

Audacity seemed like a good audio editor, and their site included a little blurb on “free software”.  When I began this project I was thinking free software as in: zero dollars from my pocket, but the audacity website also posed the idea that free software also means freedom of speech. Whoa. This is true.  Audacity claimed, “free software gives you the freedom to use a program, study how it works, improve and share it with others”. I kept this in mind as I continued my research and found another interesting site that expanded more upon the idea of “free” downloads. Some brief points from the website include:

“Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of free as in free speech, not as in free beer.

Free software is a matter of the users’ freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it means that the program’s users have the four essential freedoms:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others. By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes”.

This is very important for writing on the web, because it allows us to be active, rather than participants with the software (this was a big section considered by Landow from our earlier readings).  It gives us the option of using the software in not only work, but in play (I can think of a good friend who uses editing software for his music hobby).  With this freedom, we can distribute our works and our creativity to a community, and we can benefit others, as mentioned above.  We are not restricted to the developer’s purposes, we can create and redefine the programs for our specific uses.  And this is really cool when we think about it. It takes away the limitations.

Moving on, I had no idea what “2.0” meant, so I did a Google search.  I was lead to Wikipedia, which was a great place to start, and from my new understanding, “2.0 was the version of Windows that succeeded Windows 1.0 and began to allow Windows applications to overlap each other unlike its predecessor Windows 1.0, which could display only tiled windows. Windows 2.0 also introduced more sophisticated keyboard-shortcuts and the terminology of “Minimize” and “Maximize”, as opposed to “Iconize” and “Zoom” in Windows 1.0” (wikipedia.org). I also learned that the second generation of the World Wide Web was a movement away from static web pages, to dynamic, sharable content, and social networking  (wiktionary.org).  A Web 2.0 site allows its users to interact with other users or change website content (which is what we want!) in contrast to non-interactive websites where users are limited to the passive viewing of information that is provided to them. Web 2.0 websites allow users to do more than just retrieve information. Moreover, users can own the data on a Web 2.0 site and exercise control over that data (wikipedia.org).

The next part of the assignment led me to question, what is Creative Commons? Creative Commons is a “nonprofit organization that works to increase the amount of creativity in ‘the commons’ — the body of work that is available to the public for free and legal sharing, use, repurposing, and remixing”. So my next question was about copyright laws, where do they fall into play? I found Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright, instead “they work alongside copyright, so you can modify your copyright terms to best suit your needs. We’ve collaborated with intellectual property experts all around the world to ensure that our licenses work globally.” (all this information was found at this website).   This in turn couples the new advances and creativity options developed in Web 2.0.

Lastly, I had to find out what a GNU project was.  Basically, “every computer user needs an operating system; if there is no free operating system, then you can’t even get started using a computer without resorting to proprietary software. So the first item on the free software agenda obviously had to be a free operating system.  The word “free” in “free software” pertains to freedom, not price. You may or may not pay a price to get GNU software. Either way, once you have the software you have three specific freedoms in using it. First, the freedom to copy the program and give it away to your friends and co-workers; second, the freedom to change the program as you wish, by having full access to source code; third, the freedom to distribute an improved version and thus help build the community” (all this information was found at this website).

The face of GNU

Therefore, all three areas we looked at, the Web 2.0, Creative Commons licensing, and the GNU project are closely related.  Without the Web 2.0 advancements, we would not have the ability or the functionality of using and navigating software programs so easily.  Through the software that we use we are able to be creative, share ideas, be active rather than passive participants with the Web, and in turn we benefit the community as a whole.  The Creative Commons and GNU project allow us these freedoms of creativity and access to software without copyright issues.