October 9th, 2011
While thinking about the timeline, I found this infographic on Mashable. The infographic shows the advances in data storage over time. It starts with the punch card sin looms and goes all the way to the present cloud storage. It is hard to believe that in just 120 years, we can now store an “Unlimited amount of data and information.” If someone in 1890’s heard that someone could store a whole library in a “Cloud,” they would think you are absolutely crazy. It is crazy to think though! The people in the United States have access to more information than any civilization or people prior. The Library of Alexandria can be on a thumb drive (If we had the texts from then, which we don’t), but do we use this? Do students have access to it? Do researchers have access to it? With the increase in information storage and the decreasing cost of it, it would be safe to assume that it would be come easier to have access to this information. This is a prie example of why one should not assume.
The Chronicle ran an article a few months ago describing a lawsuit amongst publishers and writers against Georgia State University. Georgia State had an online reading room for students using excerpts from books, but the authors believe this goes beyond fair use agreements. Keep in mind, the excerpts would be fair use if copied on a copying machine and handed out. The issue here stems from their use and placement online. Why is progress being paused? This case is not over yet. A time extension has been issued by the Federal Court. This case and its outcome may shape fair use and online access to digital information for many years.
October 7th, 2011
It is impossible to go on to Facebook and not see some kind of advertisement. Similar to other websites, Facebook receives revenue through selling advertisement space and the eyes of its users. With the new Facebook profile and timeline changes, companies and brands are attempting to take advantage of the ability of a profile page. To my knowledge, Facebook does not charge companies to have Facebook profiles. It it basically free ad space. A lot of users are more than willing to “Like” a page of their favorite food, singer, or car. Volkswagen is taking advantage of this and the new profile design. As Mashable reported, VW is one of the first companies to make the transition. The tagline for the 2012 VW Bug is Status Update. It seems like the stars aligned for VW. Their new tagline coincided with the new Facebook cover photo redesign.
Although VW is the first, it will not be the last. Other companies will take advantage of this concept as well. Google+ has not released company profiles yet. A user must still be a person in order to have a Google+ profile. Google+ is competing with Facebook. How will other companies take advantage of the new Facebook profile design? Do you think that companies will take advantage of Google+? How will their strategies be similar or different on the two sites?
September 29th, 2011
For the first project, I chose to make myself uncomfortable. I had never researched cuneiform text before. I had no idea where to even start. Luckily, the University of Mary Washington Library had several sources on cuneiform texts. Only archaeologists wrote a few. A historian and a computer programmer wrote the other two. I attempted to prove a fact postulated in a text read in class that stated a linkage between computer programming and cuneiform text. I failed. Even the computer scientist’s writing failed to provide pictures or sources of cuneiform tablets to reinforce and back up his statements. I changed the focus of my project based upon the sources in hand. The books and articles I had discussed the progression of language from pictograms to cuneiform, or pictures to text. When I attempted to make pictograms, I could see the conscious decisions made by the scribe class to progress towards a more text and syllable driven language. It is hard to think about a shift of pictures representing ideas to those ideas becoming sounds and basic letters, but that is exactly what happened. At first, scribes to account for tithes to the religious temples used the pictures. Later on, cuneiform began to be used to write histories, laws, and lineages. Scribes into cuneiform wrote the Code of Hammurabi. I would only have been able to understand the progression by actually practicing the creation of the tablets. Try it some time.
September 20th, 2011
This article dropped yesterday and lists the top tweets and their historical context. The tweets include those that helped start the Arab spring revolts. Articles like this may show how historians will do their work in the future. Skimming and text mining social media posts for first-hand accounts of historical events. Wouldn’t it have been nice if Ben Franklin had live tweeted the Continental Congresses? Or if there had been a Facebook group “Roanoke’s Colony: Surf All Day, Get Killed All Night?” This change in technology and communication shows that there needs to be a shift in education of history. Student in history need to understand how to evaluate any kind of source and how to contextualize technology within the larger historical framework.
September 18th, 2011
In 2007, the first Microsoft Surface was released. Surface can respond to 52 different touch points, which allows for multiple users to interact with the device. Code named Milan, it was originally intended for the DoD and commercial enterprises. One cannot help but think about the uses by everyday individuals on an everyday basis. The second version of Microsoft Surface is about to be released as a prototype. If this technology were to move on to BestBuy or Target shelves, what would be the impact? Seamus Bellamy of MaximumPC believes that its impact will be similar to the first PC’s or the iPad. In scope or use, this is correct, but in functionality and where it fits within a user’s typical day, the surface will be completely different. You won’t be able to drag the Surface on to the subway or metro, but you will be able to have game night with your kids. In the morning, you can read a newspaper on it, while your kids read the funnies or children’s e-books. You may be able to even shop for groceries or check stocks on the surface. What do you think the Surface would be used for?
September 13th, 2011
Today, the New York Times ran an arcticle. In it, two of Youtube’s founders, Chady Hurley and Steve Chen, announced that they will be working on revamping the site Delicious. Yahoo owns Delicious, but wants to sell it off or just shut it down. Chen and Hurley beleive that with information overload, Delcious could finally become useful to a greater audience. Another part of their reasoning struck me as something that may be useful in our later discussions in class. Read this quote: “But Mr. Chen said the team also “liked the idea of saving one of the original Web 2.0 companies that started the social sharing movement on the Web.” He added: “There was some sense of history. We were genuinely sad that it would be shut down.” There is a sense of history amongst these sites. Is this sense of history similar to an old house, to an artifact, or to an old book? It seems that events happen much faster than they did a couple hundred years ago (I.e. the Hundred Years War). For a house to be placed on the National Register for Historic Places, it has to be at least 25 years old, and that is pushing it. Now, a site like Delicious is historic and has historic value, when it was just founded in 2003.
What do you think? Is Delicious historic? How do comments like this aid in our discussions of the Digital Age?
September 11th, 2011
I found this Infographic that compares and contrasts the internet of 1996 vs. 2011. It will seve as an example of how to represent information, statistics, and images in a way that is informative and visually based. Notice the use of graphical representations to represent numbers of people, and also note the use of scales. The scales are visible, but they are designed to be compatible within the design scheme as a whole.
August 30th, 2011
My name is Kyle Allwine and I am a senior here at UMW.
Honestly, I am excited about this course. Previously, I have taken Dr. McClurken’s American Technology and Culture class. It was great to learn about the history of objects that one uses each and every day. For me, that is continued into this class. I consider myself a technologist. I utilize every single social media outlet possible, and I am interested in understanding how culture has been impacted by information. As an educator, one cannot imagine that in twenty years the history of the computer, internet, and social media will not permeate into the standards of learning for schools across the nation. How does one make sense of the largest expanse of knowledge ever assembled (The Internet). *Insert suspenseful music here.* In all honesty, how will we, as historians, create confines for the study of the information age. This is what interested me enough to take this class.
Around campus, I am a COAR Counselor for Children’s Fitness, a Washington Guide, and History Department Rep. At home, I am a tree and goat farmer. My goats are Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Mary, and Washington. Mary and Washington may be pregnant. I will find out in late October. If they are, then I will have baby goats again.
Header Image Courtesy of http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Jedi_Council