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

Read 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 →

… so slip inside this funky house. It is a fact of age that home has replaced voice as the central metaphor for my life. Lately my blog has added home as a new theme to my various motifs. “The home” has always been in my thinking and writing, but it’s surfacing differently these days. This is a year of symmetry and reckoning for me. I reckon fifty years of life, twenty five of them sober, one of them divorced. I lived in my house just a year, now, with it as mine alone. Poverty forced me into transience, from place to place for thirtyRead 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 →

Today I opened something somewhere online and got another nag message from Google about its new privacy policy. The nag message invited me to “dismiss” it, a language choice that reflects a mildly amusing and disturbing political and interpersonal frame that we’ve developed with internet computing. Perhaps my amusement about being nagged over privacy derives from my almost-divorced status, but that is neither here nor there. I’m not going to waste time knifing through the current policy change. The short version: it will consolidate the privacy options for multiple Google services into one statement for the user to accept or reject with one click ofRead More →