* I can’t remember the last time I heard a busy signal. Busy signals disappeared due to voice mail and call waiting, a phenomenon that happened in the 90s. This is an early step in the direction of 24/7 accessibility and connection via new communication technologies. Although, looking backward,  we can say the same thing for the invention of the telephone, telegraph, printing press, and even writing itself. Still, the loss of the busy signal bespeaks a “jacked-in-ness” unmatched in older information technologies. * The Guiding Light has gone off the air after 72 years. I watched that show with my grandmother when I wasRead More →

When I was growing up in Manhattan, my very first phone number was LO4-4327. It’s funny to me that I still remember it after all these years. I wonder how many people remember their first phone number. I haven’t used it since I was 9 or 10. But, there it is, still in my head. Erica Jong’s recent column on HuffPo is about nostalgia and New York telephone exchanges. Thus my ponderings on LO4 and Manhattan. Many years after I left New York, I figured out that the first two letters of my number represented where I lived. Watching some old black and white movieRead More →

1. I still play on text-based games (muds, mux, etc.). Most of the gaming world has moved onto MMORPGs. 2. My cellphone is the one they sell to senior citizens. Big digit buttons, no keyboard for texting. I don’t text, surf, or download ringtones. In fact, I don’t even keep my cellphone on. I just turn it on to call out. 3. Until my new computer this week, I didn’t have the capacity to play DVDs on my computer. 4. Until this week, I was using HTML frames instead of CSS for my website. 5. I would rather play D&D 3.5 than move to 4.0.Read More →

I don’t really have much commentary on Chapter 4. I saw it as a case study in science studies and caring for animals situated within breeding pedigree dogs. Maybe I’m missing something. As for Chapter 3, I struggled with this chapter more than with other chapters. So first I’m gonna spin out what I got from the chapter (without the nuances, which would add years to this process). Chapter 3 The chapter is about how we deal ethically with other non-human species, specifically lab animals. “Instrumental action with animals is not the enemy” – sometimes we have to have lab animals. This puts her onRead More →

My latest fantasy: I want to work at Digipen, the computer gaming school in Seattle. A friend and former student went to school there. The website posted four positions in general education. I drafted my cover letter and sent an email asking questions, only to find that they already filled the positions. But they are hiring next year as well. How exciting would that be? I got all wrapped up in the fantasy about working there, imagining how I would teach my classes. Other random musings: In other news, we are going to ZoSo tonight at the Varsity. ZoSo is a wildly popular Led ZeppelinRead More →

New media critics say that new media technologies turn consumers into producers. Nowhere is this more true than in amateur porn production. An article in Wired gives this as an explanation for why the porn industry is feeling an economic crunch. The porn industry is posting losses from the endless free supply of amateur porn. Of course, despite the losses, the porn industry is still thriving, but it makes me think of the relationship between amateur and professional porn. The whole idea of amateur porn raises a host of uncomfortable issues about women’s autonomy and subjectivity. All the feminist arguments about exploitation, victimization, hate speech,Read More →

I liked but didn’t love the movie Wall-E. The message about the environment, consumption, and technology was apparent. It’s a message that a six year old, and maybe even a four year old, would get. But Frank Rich of the NYT waxes rhapsodic about the movie in the context of this year’s political campaign. He writes: One of the great things about art, including popular art, is that it can hit audiences at a profound level beyond words. That includes children. The kids at “Wall-E” were never restless, despite the movie’s often melancholy mood and few belly laughs. They seemed to instinctually understand what “Wall-E”Read More →

We don’t read on line, we skim. According to Michael Agger’s article in Slate, that’s how we read on the web, and he bases the claim on some interesting research. He gives guidelines about making your website appealing to audiences who don’t read, but skim. I don’t follow any of those guidelines, which explains my low readership. But then, I’m journaling, not blogging. Also, this month’s the Atlantic Monthly asks Is Google Making Us Stupid?, which takes a media ecology approach to the web, citing the Phaedrus, McLuhan, and Mumford, among others. The article was a long column, which I had to scroll over, andRead More →

Second Life, the MMORPG, is huge; stories about it pop up everywhere in the press. For instance, someone named “Stroker” just sold his “Amsterdam” site on Second Life for $50,000. Wired has an interview with Stroker. Last year, Reuters opened a virtual news bureau office on SL. Most recently, Sundance has held a virtual screening of a film from the festival. About a year and a half ago, someone told me about Second Life, and many of my cyber/VR friends have bailed from my various cyberhaunts to this site. So I got a character there, and even bought a video card to do so. ItRead More →