Reading

The first article I read was the Nicholas Carr one, original I know. I completely agree with him. I actually had a conversation with my Dad about this topic a few weeks ago. I’ve noticed the same change in myself. I used to love to read, all throughout my schooling up until about 11th grade I read all the time, but once I started to have to read books that I wasn’t as interested in, I didn’t have time to read the ones I did. Once I started having time again, I struggled to get in to the books. The same is true with readings for school, even though I’m interested in most of the topics, I have to push myself through it because my brain is so used to reading short things online and moving on to the next one. I think that the internet is fantastic, but it has definitely affected my ability to focus for long periods of time. I hate to use this term, but due to the “rewiring” of our brains, I think we need to remember to practice staying focused and reading more often. I think its more important than ever to make an effort to read for pleasure, lest we risk losing even more of the ability to focus on long stories. Reading boring subjects for school or work or whatever is already hard enough, but it will only get harding if we don’t exercise our long term focus.

Lessons Learned from the Readings

The first article I read was Footprints in the Digital Age by Will Richardson.  The first thing I learned from the article was that no matter how much you think you are, you really aren’t in control of your web footprint.  However, you can take measures to increase the control you have and to try to make sure the footprint you have is a good one.  Kids are online more than ever before, so it is important that they are educated in the correct ways to safely use the internet in order to maintain the best control of their footprint and what people say about them.  The second thing I learned from the article is related to this.  While its nice to always have people agree with what you say, it is important to seek out different opinions, especially those which are different from yours.  Doing this will force you to see the flaws in your argument and learn how to reduce them, which in turn makes your thinking even stronger.  The second article I read was Personal Branding in the Age of Google by Seth Godin.  Although this article was short, it had a very important message.  You need to be very, very important what you put online, because once it’s there, its there for good.  Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, but the Godin said the best thing you can do is to put good things online as often as you can.  It is kind of similar to building a good credit score, everyone misses a payment here and there, but continually making payments on time, as often as you can will build up your score and can balance out the bad ones.  The third article I read was Vanish: Finding Evan Ratliff.  This was an extremely interesting story for me.  I learned that even with all the precautions he took to keep from being found, all the information you put on the web can come back to haunt you, and in Evan’s case it did.  Its a really good example of how even though you can try to hide behind things, misdirection or true, something like posting a picture of you drinking at a party can be found.  This ties in to both of the other articles I read.  It relates to the Godin one because although he was found, he put out all the other information to help it become much harder to find, and it relates to the Richardson article because it says that if you’re not careful, one little mistake online can hurt you.

Class

In class today we tweaked and decided on our theme for the website.  We also set up a meeting to do some scans at the James Monroe Museum tomorrow.  We really liked the theme we picked at first, except that the menu bar was on the left side and we wanted it on the right.  Luckily, after a little bit of tinkering and playing around on wordpress, we figured out how to move it to the right.  Looking forward to a productive day tomorrow with Jarod!

Why I Am Taking Digital History

I’m taking Adventures in Digital History because I am a history major and thinking about minoring in Digital Studies.  I’ve taken Intro to Digital Studies and Digital Storytelling and enjoyed both of those classes so I figure the major should be pretty interesting.  I also like working with technology, the 3d printer which I’ll use in my group project particularly interests me.  Digital History will count towards my major as well so it makes perfect sense.

Making a Gif

Making a gif can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing, but if you do it is a pretty quick process.  The first thing you need to do is finding the clip you want to use, on youtube for example.  Next you need to download the video clip using a website like keepvid.com or clipconverter.cc.  Next, you need to trim the clip down using a software such as mpeg streamclip.  This is as simple as playing the video until you want your gif to start and clicking “in”, then once your gif part ends click “out” and finally click “trim”.  Next save the clip to other formats, you change the drop down bar to image sequence and the frame rate of 12.  Next you’ll need the program Gimp.  Once its open, click open as layers, and open all the images you saved from the image sequence of your clip.  Finally, again in the file menu, clip export and save the file as a .gif.  When the pop up comes up, check the as animation box. Now you’ve got a gif!

Copyright

The other day we read an article on copyright and fair use.  That topic came up in an episode of Shark Tank I was watching the other day.  One guy had a clothing company and the big thing it had was a pocket for your mp3 player and it had a little hole for your headphones for convenience.  While this episode was not new, it still appeared to me, and the sharks, that this was not a new idea.  The owner of the company then revealed that he had a patent for this technology and every other company who had incorporated this idea into their clothing had infringed on it.  This blew the sharks away because of how valuable this patent could be, and there were two drastic reactions on either end of the spectrum.  Mark Cuban was furious with this, he proclaimed that one of the things he hates about the world of business are patents like this that people often accidentally infringe on, which allows the patent owner to sue and make a lot of money off of.  He explained that he hates that people create patents like that with suing as the primary plan, not to run an honest business better than the other person.  Kevin O’Leary then responded with his approval of the patent idea.  He said that “thats how the world works” and that making money is making money.  He and Cuban went back and forth with each other, with Cuban ending up very angry and O’Leary and the business owner.  This just comes across to me as the two farthest ends of the copyright spectrum and I thought it was interesting to see how two billionaire businessmen view the way copyright laws work, because I know many people hate it just as much as Cuban.