For our final week of Digital Studies 101 we focused on our Mediated Metacognitive Meditation project. This project was designed for us to have the chance to go back to a previous project and make some improvements or add a little more that we didn’t get to the first time around.
I chose to look back on my ‘Digital Methodology’ project on creating our own HTML website. There were a few things that I felt I could have definitely improved on, unfortunately I do not have any screenshots of what the website looked like before these edits but I think you’ll be able to imagine what it might have looked like after I go over what I’ve changed. For starters I fixed a broken font code that enabled it to be viewed from all browsers not just my own. I then went on to add margins on both sides instead of having the text span across the entire page, it gives it a more clean and professional look. I also added italicized titles to all books and movies I had referenced, as well as changing the font size and weight for all headers and body paragraphs. I added more to each of my descriptions of the project that gives the reader a bit more insight on the things I was trying to accomplish and how I might have gotten there or how I may have failed to get there. I updated certain facts that I talked about and made sure the information was correct. Overall I tried reorganizing the information to be more readable and less distracting.
After the website started falling into place I decided since I was already on the topic of web redesign I would take another look at my bIog and I decided I have been waiting far too long to update my blog page and make some major changes. So from there I decided to change the background image of my blog in order to make the text more readable. I then took the professor’s advice and stated to embed links into certain areas of my blog that weren’t very clear. Such as my social media sidebar, all of which needed to be a direct link to make it easier on the viewer/reader. I then went ahead and changed the basic colors of all links, headers, titles, and text to create a similar color scheme to the background and it turned out great. I deleted some cluster and added some small things like the website icon.
I had originally set one simple goal “to create a more appealing and effective web design” There was a lot that fell under that category for both my website and my blog, however I was able to nail down the biggest problems I saw and the result was exactly what I was imagining. There can almost be improvements and I won’t settle for just ‘OK’, but I was really happy with what I’ve done thus far.
WHEW! Another crazy week of catching up but I’m finally back on track! Thank goodness. This week we only had one main project which helped and for me I had taken into to data science in the past so I was at least familiar with some functions that we would have to use this week. We were given four options; Cultural Analytics, Networks, Text Analysis, and Digital Journalism. I very quickly jumped on Cultural Analytics after seeing the barcode creation of “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I thought this idea was extremely interesting and I almost immediately knew what movie I wanted to do “The Maze Runner”, I go into a lot of detail about how I approached this, on the subdomain I created for this project, but I had a lot of fun and learning more about shortcuts and html in general was really cool. Computers are something else man. Once you get into it and have your general structure it just comes down to trying new things and checking them on your site to see what’s missing. I used w3schools a lot and they had everything I needed to complete the assignment and the rest comes down to personal touch and what you feel can be added to best increase the general appearance of your site. I’m really happy with the work I did this week and I think my website came out absolutely perfect to what I had imagined. I would give myself an A+ considering the work and the small extras that I was able to add to my site such as a unique backgrounds, different fonts, interesting hyperlink highlights, and more. This was one of the coolest projects yet and being able to look at an entire movie on one screen at the same time was incredible and something I would have never thought about. 10/10 would do for fun, haha.
Well for me, these past couple weeks have been absolutely crazy! As a part of the Army reserves my unit got called up to protect the rights and safety of those protesting as well as be a support unit for local Police. So during that time I wasn’t able to participate in this class and coming back just yesterday from the mission I can’t even express how grateful I am for such a well organized professor. He makes everything easy to access and easy to understand. On top of that he’s always near a device if you have any questions which is amazing. It’s like having 24/7 customer service! Haha, but on a serious note I was able to find what I wanted to do for the object lesson relatively fast and get started on that, I think the biggest time constraint was wanting to go back and watch all of the archived lectures that I missed, but in the end were extremely helpful. I think in all this rushing around and gathering my ideas and thoughts and coming back from the mission all flustered, I might have missed some things and I’ll be curious to find out what those were once the graded reflection comes out for this week. But overall the week went well. Because I was feeling a bit out of it and might have put less effort in as I was trying to complete this more quickly than anything else I would give myself a B for this week. But hopefully I can get caught up quickly and finish week 4 as well within the next few days before week 5 (our final week) comes up!
This laptop started off in someone else’s hands, purchased brand new from Toshiba in 2005 by our neighbors next door. The Rosenthals had bought this laptop for work purposes but as they approached retirement and the search for a new home in florida they decided they would hand it off to my family in 2013. My family used the laptop from 2013 to 2017 when it started to become obsolete due to the laptop only being able to survive on the charger at all times, however the laptop was not dismantled until May, 2020 when my siblings and I decided to shoot pellets at it, completely destroying it. Lucky for us we still had it back in May and I was able to go into it and take it apart even further and find some pretty interesting components. It’s nothing like a desktop PC, so that was fun for me. Unfortunately we have gotten rid of the laptop since then so I don’t have access to photographs but this was recent enough that I can still recall what components I pulled from it and some of the other materials I found were. Learn more about the time I spent with this laptop and all that I was able to recall on what happened in its lifespan!
This week has certainly been a busy one and for me, working while in school can get really busy. But the content in this class is amazing, so we push on! All jokes aside I think this week has been extremely useful and beneficial for me now and in the future. There were a few things we did this week but I believe the main event was learning how to read laterally and tieing that into web literacy. Learning how to investigate a claim/image and get to the bottom of truth are some skills that I hope to improve on heavily. Knowing what sites to trust and what sites to use as tools to guild research are extremely important especially as time managers. Teaching myself about personal data tracking was also super intriguing, I went into it knowing a little but I never thought it went as deep as I found. There’s just too much out there to keep track of and in an ever growing world of technology it’s only going to get worse. If its this easy for companies to track, trace, and guild our habits than why would they ever stop, especially if they’re earning some cash off of it. AH, feels like so much to talk about but everything myself and my group have done can be found in this blog under Web literacy and Personal Data Tracking. As for a letter grade, I think this week is deserving of a high B+. I kept on my work and accomplished the tasks for my group that needed to get done, as well as keeping great communication with the team in my best effort to contribute and throw in my two cents. Overall it felt like a solid week and I’m ready for the weekend! 😂
First of all personal data tracking just sounds scary! But more importantly is why this sounds so scary and what we can take from it. Personal Data Tracking refers to our online footprint and how that gets left behind. But this is important because we need to understand how much of ourselves we’re putting out there and how much of it can be easily accessed by the public. For me personally I know just by using google and having so many of my accounts linked to my google account, that my information is abundant and the tough thing is, not much of that can be reversed. It’s not something you can just say “oops, let me take that back” the web is an interesting place, good and evil. But I still try to limit the types of things that websites can gather from me as well as what I actually post or put out there, and I use specific applications to help with that.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON DATA TRACKING
Personal Data Tracking spans far beyond our imagination, with almost every piece of tech we own there is information being sent back and forth from user to company to company to company…etc. With what might be the biggest player in this being our smartphones. Just think about it for a second, every single thing you do on that phone is being recorded and sent somewhere to someone 99% of the time without our consent or control. A great article I read on this covers much of what is actually being taken from us every time we use this technology and for me personally I didn’t even start to really consider the repercussions until I saw and heard about it with sufficient evidence. Everything saved on our smart devices aren’t just logs of that activity, most often they are recorded and traded amongst larger corporations and even sold off to advertisement companies to make a quick buck off of our usage. This information can include our location, internet search history, communications, social media activity, finances and biometric data such as fingerprints or facial features. It can also include metadata; information about the data, such as the time and recipient of a text message. It’s literally insane. What might be most disappointing is that there’s no real way around this unless you live off the grid and go back to the stone age. Because as scary as this all might sound, our smart devices are extremely useful and we depend on them in our everyday lives now. It’s no longer new and fun technology. It’s a lifestyle, and we can’t even control it.
For my group and I’s Web Literacy project, we decided to take part in one of many claims surrounding the start of COVID-19. We researched whether or not COVID-19 is a biological weapon stolen from Canada. My group immediately jumped on this project and knocked out the question and the origin of this media claim>
After continuing my own research and finding my own evidence I was able to look over my groups progress and make an accurate decision on if it needed to be revised. We had to revise the first two sections NOT on logistics and correct information, rather on format and wording. After this was complete I continued research and also started the Analysis portion of this claim. What I found was that so much of this information can be misleading and so easily taken in the wrong sense. Most viewers see something from someone with authority and immediately believe it. Spreading information is a dangerous game if it isn’t coming from the true source, but voicing your opinion on the subject matter is of course also acceptable. However where people become mistaken is when we start to take that information that was put out as an opinion and believe it as factual information. Throughout most of what I was looking into through various sources (posted in the document) I found this to be one of the leading problems behind misinformation. Web literacy doesn’t just boil down to one subject or solution. It’s a whole plethora of information that needs to be carefully sorted through and back traced in order to find the right answer and one that is the least biased. Which can be hard with such a split in beliefs in today’s society. There’s a lot to discuss but I highly encourage you to look into our report on this claim that can be found in the above link, to learn more.
Throughout this week 1 of class, we’ve certainly covered a lot of content. Luckily most of this was briefings and conducts and just a general class schedule/ idea of what the semester will look like. But for what we did cover, I think going over domain of one’s own as well as wordpress as a whole was super valuable and I look forward to getting more involved with my website/ blog. This week like I mentioned was a lot of setup material, however the main project we covered was “module 1” (Digital Creativity). For this project we were given a few options for what we wanted to explore a little more and I went with the creating a GIF route. Last semester I had been exposed to this and it was something that got canceled due to covid-19. So being presented with a second opportunity like this was a blessing, I was able to gather enough information of what a GIF was, where it originated, how it came to be so popular, and why so many of us value them. With that I decided to try and create a couple seamless loops and didn’t quite get there but I hope to in the future. The trick isn’t actually creating and editing the GIF, it’s figuring out what it is you want the subject matter to be and how to achieve the best look for your vibe/ message. I think with taking into consideration the transition to another online course and it being the beginning of the semester while balancing work and school, as well as getting used to how my professor utilizes canvas and other sites. The first week went well, I’d probably give myself an A- for the work and an A for participation seeing as I attended all lectures and thoroughly reviewed the notes and content of the course. Overall I’ve enjoyed the course thus far and it seems like there’s a lot to learn here so I’m excited to continue. Not to mention professor Whalen is extremely well organized and know his field very well. Should be good!
I chose to participate in the creation of a GIF, because last semester we had an assignment that was to create multiple GIFs but due to COVID we were unable to complete this assignment and I think if you’re someone who’s interested in video and/or photography this is the middle ground and a great skill to, at a minimum, understand. A GIF matters because it’s one more medium in which you can express yourself. GIFs can be absolutely random or they can gave a very specific meaning such as, educational, story telling, funny, emotional, etc. There’s just a lot you can do with this platform. Multiple looping images or one short video that loops? you can decide.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON GIF CREATION
As I worked through these 2 GIF animations and got the hang of things I quickly realized that actually editing them in photoshop isn’t the hardest part. I think when it comes to GIF creation, the hard part is picking your subject and what message you want to send, if any. Creating the “perfect” loop is a lot more difficult than people think (or at least I thought). In order to achieve this you must perfectly frame the ending shot with the beginning shot which is extremely tough to do with a moving subject. This is what I aimed for in both of my GIFs but as you can see below there is without a doubt some misframing. The history surrounding the GIF is quite intriguing and there’s a lot to learn from early creators. But what most stood out to me was just how wide the range of possibilities is with GIF animations, from corporate logo designs to everyday memes there’s something for everyone.
I’ve covered most of what you need to know about me in the home section of the blog but for this class specifically, I chose not to create a subdomain, at least not yet. Mostly because I don’t feel I need to quite yet, but also because I really want to get the hang of things before I go around making a bunch of changes. I want to become familiar with some content at a minimum. I’m currently using WordPress and learning the ropes of everything you can do. My social media links can also be found on the home page!