Jessica Chambers got murdered, and what an interesting story it is. No one knows who did it, and everyone’s trying to arm-chair solve the mystery online, and there are more sleuths working on it than residents in Jessica’s hometown. Jessica is the current poster girl for “missing white woman syndrome” and her latest murder(s) are members of a gang, just proof that black men are nothing but thugs, and that black lives don’t matter. Jessica, you see, actually dated black men. In Mississippi, even. So that’s a hot mess. A hot mess of racism in the dirty south made all the worse by the internet’sRead More →

The Blackboard app sucks more than Blackboard itself. The mobile app is teacher unfriendly. In fact, it’s downright teacher-hostile. Remember, the medium is the message. Since Blackboard has yet to master mobile-responsive design, the mismatch between the website and mobile app causes users to get mixed messages. This is a huge headache for teachers and students alike. Additionally, instructors cannot access the grade center, or grade anything, which renders Blackboard Mobile pointless for teachers.  The app is just an added burden for instructors to address in course design, without much payoff. What the app is useful for 1. Uploading docs at the last minute. 2.Read More →

Which company will become Skynet? Will it be Google or Amazon? Although Google has a neural net cast over the entire world, giving it a head start in the race toward Skynet dominance, Amazon is building drones. Drones are only a step away from Terminators. Google has turned its back on its “Don’t Be Evil” corporate ethos, but Amazon’s labor practices are, well, evil. If these two companies have babies, we’re all a step away from getting Terminated. So, uhhh, yeah, I have a drone. My household now has an Echo from Amazon. (Note: I am not the one who purchased it.) Echo is aRead More →

Scare cam proves what everyone’s saying about us – we are all turning into a bunch of narcissistic sociopaths. Our ability to empathize is eroding daily. Most folks attribute this to desensitization from new media technology, but the blame is elsewhere. “Point and shoot” scare cams emphasize that the thing pointing doesn’t kill people, people kill people. Scare cams are a symptom of something bigger, of lost contact. You can fall in love via technology just as easily as you can bully through it; technology can mediate love as much as it can mediate bullying. So the problem isn’t technology. Maybe in the end OctaviaRead More →

In Interpersonal Communication we have an assignment in which students describe what it’s like to unplug for a weekend. I decided to blog about the assignment because…well..you’ll see… Class Assignment Select a 48-hour period during which you will “unplug” from your computer-mediated communication (CMC) technology. This includes email, Facebook, interactive computer gaming (MMORPGs, etc.), texting, and chatting. You may use your cell phone for phone calls only. What was the experience like? How did your family, friends, and coworkers react? How long did you last before you became uncomfortable? What forms of communication or what activities did you replace your technology with? Write a fiveRead More →

I’m a paper pile person, and although I have an abiding obsession with time management systems, I always felt inspired to let the paper dragon frolic. Now I’m drowning in data and trapped in its undertow. As people around me sign up for various cults of productivity apps, I find myself overwhelmed by choosing which cult to join. The whole thing makes me throw my hands up in the air, which defeats the purpose of organization systems in the first place. After letting the elephant of Evernote, the blue box of Dropbox, and every other eye-candy logo capture my attention, I’ve opted for the simplestRead More →

Smart phones have changed the easy e do business, to putt it mildly. i Swype with my druid and voice text orvoice tore sulk the tinge. Come again? Smart phones have changed the way we do business, to state the obvious. I use the Swype keyboard app or the voice feature on my Droid (not druid, though it is a druidic phone, in my opinion), so I’m forever making gross errors. I typically use the voice feature while driving – friends don’t let friends text and drive – so correcting errors is rarely an option. Worse still, voice texting ignores vocal inflection, so my textsRead More →

Big Bird was almost executed in the last election, and his stay of execution was a relief to progressives and liberals. An email exchange with a colleague reminded me about using Sesame Street in a class activity for teaching about the “death of the humanities.” Introduction to Humanities that semester focused on public humanities and the democratization of the humanities through new technology. New technology meant writing, the printing press, up to the internet, of course. Maybe students would feel empowered if they could connect “great art” or “high art” to DIY art [we watched performing arts fundraiser Ben Cameron’s Ted Talk for this]. ByRead More →

My college journalism professor decried the birth of USA Today and its “circus spread” style of layout or design. This format, he explained in disgust, spelled the doom of modern civilization, because it showed the strength of television’s influence over newspaper. Television turned the news into a circus. I lasted only a semester as a journalism student. My professor’s point makes sense, though. Media inherit aspects of their previous forms, finding “shape” for them, as Marshall McLuhan was quick to point out. I remembered the “circus spread rant” when I bought my first copy of Generation X by Douglas Coupland. The book’s shape is decidedlyRead More →

Yesterday when I just woke up and was early morning cat-napping, I got a text from someone asking my opinion about a project. I was excited about it, and we exchanged some ideas through texts. I got a “grand idea” that was too complicated to explain in texts. I texted her that I would email her to explain if she would give me a minute. She laughed and said, “Why don’t you just call me instead?” It’s a smart PHONE! Not a smart texting device. A PHONE! It can be used for things besides games, Facebook, and texting. Like CALLING PEOPLE. Donna Haraway, my favoriteRead More →