On the impotence of proofreading

Posted by jerry on December 7th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Writing

I was bigly in need of a spill chocker when I was pinted in the generic disruption of this video! Thanks to Christy Dena for bringing this to my intention 🙂


How Manga conquered America

Posted by jerry on October 23rd, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Writing

Wired magazine online has a manga-format brief history of how that popular culture art-form went from being a marginal specialist import to a publishing phenomenon the likes of which would make Astro-boy (Tetsuwan Atom) proud. Wired has a download in PDF format. But there is a twist – the pdf is in traditional Japanese manga style so you read from back to front and right to left. Considering Manga’s influence on the early cyberpunk science fiction movement this is certainly a cultural form to take seriously. But you knew that already from the way manga is gradually creeping down the central aisles of most contemporary bookshops.

manga history

I suspect that the manga explosion is also in part a function of a growing sophisticated visual literacy – bourne of the web and fed by new media of all formats. But I like too the uncompromising aspect of the back-to front binding (great for left handed reading!).


Newseums – museum in Second Life

Posted by jerry on October 22nd, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Technology, Writing

What does the Newseum, Sistine Chapel and the Sydney Harbour Bridge have in common? They have simulacra in virtual world Second Life. For some the build raises the question of whether real life (RL) museums are a thing of the past. a Washington Post article poses the question:

Are museums in the bone-and-pigment business, reliquaries of the past? Are they in the theater business, telling stories through sensational lighting, presentations like stage sets and costumed interpretive actors? Are museums in the experience business, forced to reach for ever fancier gizmos and blockbusters to compete with the sports world and Disney for family time and money?

Perhaps they are all of these things and more. But then even the RL artworks within medieval or Renaissance religious architecture were about experiencing the virtual. Consider the perspective studies that appear to continue RL architecture into a fresco. Perhaps SL is a little bit like that.

Is it as good as the real thing? It depends on what the real thing is. The lovingly detailed Michaelangelo fresco copy in the virtual Sistine Chapel can be viewed as a real lovingly detailed Michaelangelo fresco copy in a virtual Sistine Chapel, while the one in the RL Sistine chapel is also real – yet partially virtual in virtue of its function as art, and overlaid with centuries of interpretation so that before you see the real one your concept of it is preconfigured before you get there. The difference being that in SL you can fly up to the ceiling for a closer look! The SL one is built here at vassar/165/91/24 (slurl).

The Newseum museum of news offers a parallel build in SL of the one currently being completed in Washington DC USA – or it will if they release it to the public (something they haven’t yet decided upon). So it is a virtual museum in several planes – in RL (still being built); in virtual form (as a build in SL) and in further virtual form (it doesn’t exist yet).

This is precisely the discussion evoked by Magritte’s famous painting: “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (This is not a pipe) – because of course it is not a pipe, but a representation of one.

magritte pipe

After that the distinctions just get a bit academic.

Thanks to Archinect for the link.

Students today – dare I compare?

Posted by jerry on October 16th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Writing

New media analyst Alja Sulcic pointed to a video on her Facebook produced by a group of cultural anthropology students, surveying their own tribal group. And the results are fascinating – and look set to challenge many of the pedagogical assumptions we have. The biggest challenge is whether today’s university is relevant – and what place might they hold in the future?

Students today – when they graduate they will probably have a job… that doesn’t exist today.

Average class size = 115
18 percent of teachers know a student’s name

Read 8 books a year, 2300 web pages, 1289 Facebook profiles

Write 42 pages for class per semester, over 500 pages of emails

Hours in the day
7.0 sleeping
1.5 watching TV
3.5 online
2.5 listening to music
2.0 on mobile phone
3.0 in class
2.0 eating
2.0 working
3.0 studying
TOTAL = 26.5 hours

They multi-task. They have to.

Many students are so engaged by their classes that they Facebook right through them or do other stuff on their laptop or text their friends. Many don’t read their $100 textbooks.

Much of what they get at university is irrelevant to them or out of date before the textbook is published – at least that is their perception.

So in my middle aged mid-career life, how do I compare?
I sleep 7.0 hours a night
I have a job that didn’t exist three years ago.
I recently sold some writing to an online journal that is in a virtual world that didn’t exist three years ago (okay the world did, but only just – the journal is less than one year old)
I work 8-9 hours a day – I don’t do personal stuff at work
I watch less than 1.0 hour of TV per day
I spend about 2-3 hours a day online
I play fiddle about 1.0 hour a day
I do email/check online news and weather over breakfast
I listen to 20 minutes of music per day – driving to/from work
I multi-task – often playing tunes while waiting for pages to load

So I guess the age group is irrelevant – the fact is that life today is very different from what it was even just ten years ago when I started writing my book about the internet. I wrote my first email in June 1989. I guess that makes me a relatively early adopter. I first surfed the internet using Mosaic and Gopher. I built my first website in 1996 – entirely hand-coded.

Here is the video that started this post

How do you compare?


SLiterary – writers journal in Second Life

Posted by jerry on October 15th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Technology, Writing

A while back I joined an online writers discussion group in virtual world Second Life – one of the things they discussed was the forthcoming issue of SLiterary journal – a literary arts journal in Second Life and using fictions based on or in second life. The journal pays real world rates for stories.

Sliterary journal

You can pick up the latest edition of the magazine in-world or download the PDF (or click on the image).

The journal is interesting as it is an old media format crossing into new media. The fact that it is primarily available as a notecard in SL means that the reader has to be new-media savvy and familiar with how this virtual world works. It requires a form of new media literacy to access the journal – although it will subsequently be released as a web-based document too.

The journal is edited by a real-world journalist and supported by a small editorial team. The whole thing is paid for by advertising sponsorship – mainly companies with a presence in Second Life. We are a long way from seeing writers able to support themselves on Second Life journalism, but it is interesting to see the first signs of Second Life being taken seriously by old(er) media. The presence of old(er) media in Secondlife is growing with sites like the Australian ABC broadcast media proving quite popular. I suspect it will not be too long before serious academically refereed journals appear in SL. Already there are signs that SL is being taken seriously by major educational institutions, such as MIT and used as a teaching space for new media literacies.