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January 31, 2007

The Internet: The Resource to Search for One's Self

I believe the articles for this week focused on the human anonymity within the internet. “MUDS? as described by Turks can be a safe place for individual exploration and the opportunity for people to belong to a community. This community, although virtual, often blurs into reality and individuals can be confused and controlled by this sense of belonging.

The following statement is a description of the ways people are using virtual communities as a crutch and catalyst to present their so-called true selves:
“The internet has become a significant social laboratory for experimenting with the constructions and reconstructions of self that characterize postmodern life. (Turkle, p.180)

It is my belief that often people are using pseudonyms and avatars that may not truly describe who they are physically, emotionally, socially, etc. For this reason, I myself support the use of pseudonyms as a form of online protection. I have not been introduced to using avatars as described in the Kirkpatrick reading but assume in the near future this may be the necessary norm in the virtual communities that I belong to. I personally do not subscribe to many online communities as my social commitments lead me to desire physical presence of one to one communication. Meaning my social community is the sort of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, churches, and other city hotspots.

My own beliefs about social interaction and social communities leave me with doubts that people will be able to “fill the gap with neighborhoods in cyberspace. (Turkle, p.233) To me Turkle is leading us to believe that the world is becoming less social within our communities, therefore people are seeking community through non conventional sources such as the internet. Interestingly true, but I don’t believe it is too difficult to say hello to your neighbor while getting your mail, etc. In short, I would encourage individuals using online to seek social acceptance to use this as a tool and not a way of life.

I had a challenge fully understanding Second Life but through the Kirkpatrick reading it is obvious that virtual communities are now exploding in the business world. In this case I should be educated on this specific program, the benefits, and the ethics and safety behind it. Kirkpatrick stated that “The virtual world-don’t call it a game,? accompanied with the support of companies such as IBM, signifies that the virtual world can be a respected and useful place.

Second Life? Are you in??

I have to say that I’ve been pretty cautious in regards to online identity and personal information of myself via Internet, but probably not as cautious as I should be considering the increase identity fraud that happens on a daily basis. Back a few years ago when I was in junior high, I had an American Online screen name, or a pseudonym if you will, which consisted of my first initial and a few letters of my last name, followed by two of my favorite numbers. I remember AOL have an option of setting up a profile, where you could list more personal information regarding your location, interests/hobbies, and things like that. However, I was very cautious about putting any information on the profile, and if I did it was far fetched from the truth. In the readings by Turkle it states, “On it people are able to build a self by cycling through many selves.? (4). The Internet has made it easier for people to pretend to lead a life that’s not really anything like their realistic one. Luckily, I haven’t had any problems with my online identity yet, and hopefully I never will. I don’t necessarily agree with the whole MUD concept because I feel as though it just gives individuals an excuse to do things and say things they probably wouldn’t normally do in real life. For example Turkle mentioned on page 251, “Virtual rape can occur within a MUD if one player finds a way to control the actions of another player’s character and can thus “force? that character to have sex.? Rape in real life is considered a crime; hence, why should it be ok for a person to go ahead and joke around about something like this with a virtual world or avatar?

Second Life is definitely something new to me. It seems interesting, but I’m still not too sure if I’d ever actually take the time to participate in it. When I briefly glanced over this article, Second Life kind of reminded me of the PC game SIMS. But after reading more into the article, found that Second Life is definitely more complex and involved than SIMS. It’s hard to believe that there are over 3 million residents involved in this virtual reality thing, when this is something completely new to me. I think one very interesting aspect of Second Life is what Kirkpatrick mentions the business use of the program, sort of replacing Teleconferencing with Second Life. It definitely would add a little spice and twist to the normal everyday meeting, that’s for sure! But, you wonder how beneficial it would be. Even though Second Life looks like an interesting program, it seems as though there is a downfall of Second Life, as mentioned by Kirkpatrick, and that is its’ software if difficult to use, “one in six who try it are still on line 30 days later?. So it looks like there are still some improvements that could be made to Second Life that would allow it to be a bit more user friendly. All in all, I think it’s an interesting program, who knows what the virtual world will come up with next!

Who are we kidding?

The only avatar I have created and actively use is for an online poker site. I initially picked a middle of the road male avatar. When I played online I realized that there wasn't any read of the other players other than their occasional banter or the speed in which they played their hands. Live poker provides many "tells" if a player has a good hand or if they are bluffing. Most of the game isn't about the cards, it is about the image and the play. I decided to see if there was any difference in my opponents play if I Ipicked a female avatar in a bathing suit. It was amazing the difference just changing to a static avatar. The avatar was an image of a player that wasn't serious about playing the game. It seemed like I was able to distract the other players by only changing my appearance. But then, who am I kidding? How do we know that the tough looking macho man at the table wasn't a little old granny beating me at my own game.

The percieved freedom that MUDs provide are just that. Turkle quoted a number of people who said that they were able to blossom online when their real world job was a dead end. MUDs do provide freedom because they are created any way the user desires. I think for some users, this can be a very beneficial outlet for their creativity. But not all creativity is positive. It was interesting how the issues of rape and violence are becoming more and more common. Turkle's interview of a virtual rapist (p252-253) dicussed how the victim wasn't the first to complain but it was the bystanders. The victim thought it was humorous. I would think there will be some legislation in the future regulating what we can do in our virtual world. I am sure there are cases of attacks on children. Are there child avatars in SL controled by adults? I think you have to be over 18 years old to join.

Second Life is making additional land as fast as they can. They will create a new land mass in the near future. I am amazed at the level of interest in SL by individuals. I think it is great that corporations are using these platforms for virtual meetings. Think of the savings in transportation that can be realized by some of the larger companies. Teleconferencing is nice but I think the virtual office location adds a little more fun to the meetings. Each employee has their personalized avatar and the lines become blurred as to what is real and what is virtual. Employees become known as their avatar.

If I had time to explore SL, I think it would suck me in very fast.


The story of my (second) life...

When I first started using Internet, my only purpose was to go to some chatrooms. At this time, my father was very precautious of the security and he did not want me to give an email adress to anyone (and we just had a common adress for the family). I got bored by this chatrooms very quick but a friend of mine made me play online with him, and a few years later, I have to admit that I had become an addict online gamer. I was spending more and more time on the Internet, I understood it much better and I had met a lot on people online. I was using a pseudonym but I did not really mind telling my real name to anyone who would ask me.
I think my behaviour online was very different than in life, and it was very true with this particular friends. We were in the same class, he was very outstanding, talked to everyone and I was more shy. At nights, when we were playing online the roles were in the other way. The fact of being a player was getting me confident, I was in a team, had a lot of "friends" and even if it can sound weird, I was very respected just because of being a "good" player.. However, from all these people I knew online, I finally met two, and they were very different than online, and now I would say that they would have never become my friends outside of the game.
I lost every contacts with people of this community as soon as I stopped playing.
At this time, I wasn't really paying attention at my identity online, about how much I wanted these people to know me etc... It totally different by now. All my accounts on the different sites (facebook, myspace...) are generally private, and I'm not looking forward meeting people on Internet. I use these websites to stay in contact with the people I already know.. However, I never had a problem about giving out photos of me. I don't really think that I lose a part of intimacy by doing that, people don't know anything about me seeing a picture... it's like seeing someone in the street.

I discovered Second Life a few weeks ago, on the French tv news. A candidat for the election had created on office on the website for her campaign, but I did not it before..
Ironically, the news network talked about second life tonight again, I watched it just before writing this. (If you're interested, and if you understand French, or want to practice, go to this link : and watch the edition of "Mardi 30 Janvier".)
I have checked the community website and I don't think I would like to have an account. Maybe I should try to see how it really works, but I am always on a quite defensive posture about these "social networks". It took me two years to be convinced by Myspace, so maybe I'll change my mind. I find a bit ridiculous all the people defending these websites because of their abilities to make you interact with so many people, to help socializing etc... As Turkle says, on page 178 "many of the institutions that used to bring people together no longer work as before. Many people spend most of their day alone at the screen of a tv or of a computer".
I have five roomates and sometimes, we are all on our computers, each one in his room, socializing with the whole world, but not talking to the one next door.
I think people (me included) should try to take care of their own life before trying to reach to any kind of fame or accomplishment online.

On the Internet, no one knows you're a frumpy, uncharismtic shy person.

I nearly always create some sort of fake identity for online use, and after reading all of Turkle's accounts of people who are so heavily invested in their online lives and multiple identities (to the point of outright obsession), I wonder if part of it is that I can imagine myself getting "sucked in". If a website requires that I register before I can view the page's content, I submit ridiculous information, partly as a disguise, and partly in hopes that someone, somewhere will get the message that I don't appreciate attempts to collect information about me. I have never used an avatar, and I admit I've always found them to be sort of silly, but I've realized that in situations like this very blog, avatars would help me remember who's who.

Like some others have mentioned, I was also sort of shocked at the amount of real money that moves around as a result of Second Life. I can't really relate to the desire to pay for a cartoon on a screen, but I guess if shopping for cartoon land and clothes helps people exorcise their consumeristic urges without having to actually go out and buy a bunch of stuff, I'm all for it. In Aspects of the Self, Turkle quotes a college student who admits there is a part of him that is like the violent characters he creates, and an online identity is a relatively harmless space to act out. (p.190) I'm sure we could all agree that however upsetting a personal attack in an online environment may be, it's infinitely better than having to experience/witness such antisocial behaviors in real life. And it's not as if social consequenses don't exist online-- I spent some time looking at the police blotter in the Community section of the Second Life board, and it seemed like the most common crimes were the use of weapons in the wrong space, sexual harrassment, and spamming. The listed transgressors were punished by being denied access to the site for a period of a few days, and presumably would be welcome to return if they mended their ways.

I'm just trying to get this life right.

It's interesting to read about all these people from all walks of life that participated in the earliest versions of virtual communities. They have different backgrounds and want different things from their virtual communities. I have a lot of respect for those pioneering people that for one thing started using computers before they became user friendly, and then started to connect with other people from all over the planet. It was a way to reach out and communicate with groups from all over.

Having said that, I have to say that I've always thought that my friends who opted to play crude games and endlessly chat online were a little odd. The use of computers did not interest me at all. I thought that my friends were crazy for goofing around on their machines, especially when it was a nice day out or there were other things to do. Sadly, I also thought that computers would never be useful or any kind of big deal. OOPs I was wrong.

From reading Turkle's writing about the different people that "MUD", I came away from it surprised that people would construct such elaborate "realities". Though the primitive technology of the time didn't allow for graphics, people would simply construct their dungeons with text and leave the rest to their imagination. Turkle describes it as "...a text-based, virtual reality" (Turkle 181).

Looking at it that way, it still sounds boring. But when you add other people to the mix, it seems less boring. From my own experience with online communities, I have found that communicating with other people that share my interests can be comforting. I usually just write into online forums. There is one for Jeep owners. On that forum I can communicate with other Jeep owners from around the world. I jokingly call it a Jeep support group. We help each other with mechanical problems and talk about off- roading. Some of the members are a bit backwards but I cope. There is also another forum for photographers that I enjoy going to. It's great to have access to so many photographers. We compare photos and give advice. In the real world it would be impossible to have access to so many people. I guess I get a sense of comradery from it. I belong somewhere! ha ha

So I guess when you add the human element into the mix, the whole concept can become more interesting. It's nice to communicate with others that share your interests. But there is a limit. I read about Robert in chapter 7 of Turkle's book. It sounded as if he used the mud to escape the realities of his dysfunctional family life. For a seven month period, he claimed that he "...MUDded over 80 hours a week" (Turkle 201) It's one thing to do something to escape or have fun, but something is wrong when it gets to 80 hours a week of usage.

I knew a guy that was a bit too obsessed with online gaming and chatting. He lived in his friend's parent's basement for a number of years. His teeth eventually rotted out from neglect. All he ever did was play and/or talk online. His skin was really white from his lack of exposure to the sun. Amazingly, he eventually met a woman (online) from Indonesia and married her.

I think that creating an alternate identity has its appeals, but I wouldn't want to do it constantly. It sounds like a good way to shed you inhibitions, but does it really help you in the real world? I'd rather go to Mardi Gras and shed my inhibitions there. (Not too much though ha ha) Or travel to another country. When I went to Europe, I definitely felt a kind of freedom and excitement that I haven't experienced here.

I do think it's good when the alternate identity serves a purpose. Gordon for example, used his multiple identities to help develop qualities that he wanted to attain (Turkle 190). I think that using these things as tool for self improvement is admirable. It seems like this new practice has limitless possibilities to help people.

Second Life looks like the next generation of virtual reality. It reminds me of the whole helmet, goggles and gloves interface that was hyped up in the nineties. The idea of owning your own virtual island sound kind of interesting. And using it for business purposes sounds really wild. When I read that, it reminded me of times when coworkers got a little lippy with me via email. I believe that the lack of face to face contact emboldened then to mouth off. (They back right down when you inquire about their attitude.) Maybe if businesses used Second Life for some interaction, the Avatar, or image of a person will remind the mouthy ones that there is another person on the end of that line.

You can call me Moondog

It is interesting for me, when looking at the creation of my online identity, that my "real world" identity becomes increasingly similar as time passes. I think when I first started posting in forums and chatting online I was very self concious about what I said and the impression of myself that I gave to others. In this sense I used the pseudonym Moondog because my aunt told me I looked like that character in the movie Gidget. This allowed me to represent myself in a physical sense but gave me the oppurtunity to create my own online identity. My personality is very outgoing and socialable and as time passed the image I created online of myself became more identical to the image I wanted to represent in reality. Now, as I post online or chat, I am completely comfortable with allowing others to see me as the person I am. My use of avatars does not directly corrolate with the online community but more towards game consoles. I enjoy creating characters or players that I think accuratel represent myself. However, I myself think that I choose character traits that maybe do not accurately represent how I perceive myself but how I want others to perceive me. The social implications of this are huge mainly as Turkle raises to question on page 178, does this use of online personalities satisfy our humanistic needs to be seen, touched, and acknowledged?

As I looked through the SL website I was amazed at how many people are already participating in this online phenomenon. Irving Wladawsky- Berger states in the last paragraph of "It's not a game", that virtual worlds are currently at their developmental stages and the abilities we have now will be minor in comparison to what eventually might come out of this. This to me is very scary! It might be that I do not fully understand this online community, but the use of real dollars in a virtual world to buy virtual things seems rather frivolous and unuseful. I picture the game Sims where you are able to create the world you live in. The game is extremely intriguing and fun but it isn't reality, just as virtual clothes can not be worn or a virtual island with virtual water cannot be swam in.

I don't want to end up in a MUDdy life!

Back in the 90's, I had one ID that I stuck with through and through: airwalk_21. I still remember, which I have not looked at for at least 5 years until today, as my first ever live chat experience. Back in those days, there was no Java, so the page automatically refreshed every 30 seconds, or every time I hit enter. My name came from the type of shoe I was wearing when I first started an account, and 21 from Kevin Garnett, my favorite basketball player at that time. I chose a pseudonym because everyone else in the chat room had one. Alliterations and titles like "princess" aside, most names were pretty random. So how did I delve deeper into someone's identity? A little symbol I picked up quickly, A/S/L, which stood for age/sex/location. After that you could hopefully relate to the person, and they lived close enough that you could talk about something you both knew about. Since then, I have just used my last name, or my x500 from the U. I figure in an age of identity theft, it really doesn't matter. If they want it, they can have it. If I am chatting or using another application, I want my friends to know who I am.
I never used avatars until yesterday. I have never used SecondLife until yesterday. But after reading Kirkpatrick's Second Life:It's not a game, I decided to make one that looked just like me. Unfortunately my experiment proved inconclusive, I didn't stick with SecondLife too long, and I am, after all, a 20-something who is not obese (in real life and in the game). So I kind of fit in with the rest of the crowd that is "buff, invitingly, dressed, and about 20 years old." I really enjoyed reading the rest of Kirkpatrick's article, it was the first time I had ever heard of SecondLife. The things that got me to try it were reading that IBM was involved with it as a business platform, and that people could make money. I found it very interesting that Linden did not encourage anything, but just tried to let the users create everything themselves. I see him as a philanthropist of Internet and technology, on the levels of the creators of Wikipedia (Larry Sanger) and craigslist (Craig Newmark). The want to let the Internet serve as a place of learning and full-use, although SecondLife does make you pay at times for what you want to create.

I find it amazing that we have a virtual real estate market, inside a virtual program. It made sense to me when popular URL names were fought over in court, such as, or have 6 or 7 digit price tags, such as many (not this site, sites with adult-themed names). This is a whole universe I never new existed! Who needs space travel? I can walk, I can talk, I can fly, I can look however I want, raise an eyebrow and flatten my face. I don't need clothes, I can change those however I want for free, and if I really want I can be naked. There is a world of difference between the material Turkle writes about and SecondLife. I never used IRC or MUDs, but they seem prehistoric to what we have now. Before we had that, we had nothing, or did we? I feel like my generation is really bad at personal communication. I thinking picking up the phone, speaking in front of class or interviewing is a lot harder for the 20 year-olds than the 40 year-olds, but that is a different blog.
I really liked when Sherry Turkle talked about the example from the mailing list discussing MUDding from Finland. Someone goes on to talk about how time spent in the computer is better than watching a television show all day, because they are actually talking to "real people through the machine". But are we talking to real people? Turkle goes on to talk about how people "are able to build a self by cycling through many selves." Here I see Turkle explaining something that I do every day, but via email. I write letters in so many different ways to different people. Out here in government, our internal email is strictly business. When I correspond when working in the Twin Cities, people seem a lot more fun and personal, but business is the majority of the letter. With family and friends, I can talk about basically everything. Here I change my personality to different "levels" of me. It was interesting to read about Gordon, Matthew and Julee, where lives are changed through using a MUD. People can come out of depressions and find other outlets for their anger that the don't want to deal with in the "real world". While MUDs and IRCs are acronyms of the past, the way they were established and used seems to continue to how we use SecondLife and newer applicatoins.

A Second Life? Thanks, but I'm OK with only One.

I remember the first time I logged onto AOL. I was probably about 12 years old, and the whole “online thing? was fascinating to me. I had heard the craze about this new thing called a chat room. I decided to give it a whirl, and I was amazed when I entered in on this group of people typing back and forth to each other. For a while, I just sat and watched. I eventually learned that you had to randomly pick someone you wanted to talk to, and address them. Its strange how on this first experience, I immediately knew that I didn’t have to be myself. The question, “What do you look like? eventually came, and the chance to be someone different appeared. In this fake world, I was 17 years old and a senior in High School. Times changed, and eventually AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) was the common means of communication. To keep my identity safe, I knew not to use my real name, so instead I used a pseudonym. At first, I was very cautious with who I gave my name out to on the internet. However, now I have come to realize that for the most part, keeping a separate identity is not that big of a deal any more. I personally do not use the internet to enter a different realm like Turkle addresses in “Identity in the Age of the Internet?. I have never had an online relationship, and don’t ever plan on it. However, it seems that with each passing year, society starts to accept the “online dating process? more and more.

Turkle also talks about how people are becoming more and more involved in online communities such as IRC. After taking a deeper look into Second life, I began to think how primitive online features such as simple text chat rooms, and even current programs such as IRC have allowed the creation of Second Life to take place. In a theoretical sense, IBM has simply taken the community that has been built online over the past years, and expanded it to a three dimensional setting. However, I’m not sure that I completely agree with David Kirkpatrick, author of “Second Life: It’s not a Game? on Second Life becoming the sol way people use the internet in the future. Rather, I predict that it will simply remain as a form of entertainment for people instead of being truly integrated as the considered norm for the internet medium. Turkle explains about one woman who feels that when on IRC, she is very popular, but in real life, she is the exact opposite. By using this example, I can see that a large majority of the population enjoys having a second identity on the internet, however, I do not see them having the time, or the need to have a complete second life. I personally would rather put the equivalent time and energy into making my “real life? better.

Second Life and Identity

I have used different usernames for my email accounts and also different screen names when I’d go onto online chat rooms. From my experience, the reason why I would choose to use different names was because of security. In a way, I felt secure that I could vent about something freely without having to worry about seeing the person that I was writing back and forth with down the street or in a class. It was a way to hide, but also a way to express my thoughts and feelings. In a way, I can relate to Josh from “Virtuality and its Discontents? when he stated that the MUDs gave him a sense of freedom and hope. Josh stated “Down here [in the MUD] I see friend, I have something to offer? (239). Chat rooms were my form of MUD because they helped me to be more open with people that I barely knew. MUDs and chat rooms also enable people to “understand what it’s like to be a person of the other gender? (238). Even though I’ve never tried that myself, I think that it may help other people to relate to those of the opposite gender and have more respect and understanding. On the other hand, there are drawbacks to having excessive contact with virtual communities. “Virtuality and Discontents? raised a question “is it really sensible to suggest that the way to revitalize community is to sit along in our rooms, typing at our networked computers and filling our lives with virtual friends?? (235). My response is that it’s all right to play MUDs and chat to people online in other countries, but I think that everything has a limit. I don’t think that it’s healthy to be addicted to virtual communities like MUDs because it almost takes away a part of what makes us different from machines: we need human contact. We need to feel love and feel touch as well as hear other people’s voices to not be alone and to build social skills.

My email account usernames are a little different in a sense that the people that I write to know who I am and so I have to censor what I say just like in any other form of communication. There’s more anonymity in being online in some chat room hiding behind a silly screen name where you feel like people can’t judge you. Even if people do start to judge, you can just ignore them because they mean little if anything to you. Unlike Steve from “Virtuality and Discontents,? I never gave other people my real name. Even though most of the time I was not trying to pretend to be another person, I had an issue with trusting people online and I had a fear of being tracked down. Whenever I’d be online, I would talk with people about the problems in my life and in a way it was my escape. “Virtuality and Discontents? states that “there must be something wrong with Reality, if so many people want to escape from it? (242). I agree with that statement, I think that a lot of people do want to escape from their problems, but I don’t think that it’s possible to hide from your problems your entire life. I think that the reason why so many people rely on online communication is because our social system is set up where people try to be individuals and independent of other people. Young people also may feel like adults are looking down on them and not taking their opinions seriously because they don’t have as much life experience. “Virtuality and Discontents? supports this assertion by stating “these young people feel they have no political voice, and they look to cyberspace to help them find one? (241). However, there is another side to online communication in that it allows people from all over the world communicate with each other. As in the case of “Achilles? otherwise known as Steve, he was able to play the MUDs game with people in Germany.

I personally find Second Life very interesting. It’s definitely a new creation that will boom over the next few years. When I visited it, it stated that there were 3,147,284 residents and that there were 1,026,594 people that logged onto the program in the last two months. I know that this number is definitely going to grow at an exponential rate as more people become aware of it. It’s a cross between computer games and online communication with people from all over the world. According to CEO Sam Palmisano, “Second Life is the next phase of the Internet’s evolution? and that it will probably have “the same level of impact as the first Web explosion.? I couldn’t believe that people actually made money buying and selling their virtual islands. Second Life is more interactive than any other computer game/program that I know because “residents? can “build, own, or sell their digital creations.? There’s also real money involved because people can buy “Linden dollars.? I think that it’s like a real virtual community. The website even has a newsletter and mailing lists along with a classified section for the buying and selling of the virtual islands. I think it’s amazing.

Hey everyone :)


This is a picture of my cousins, siblings, myself, and my grandparents. The reason why I chose it is because over the years the number of family photos we have are steadily decreasing. My cousin Dimitri (on the lower left) lives in Russia and my cousin (on the top right) lives in Boston. They rarely come down to MN to visit so it's hard for all of us to be together and have family pictures. That's why I think that this picture is very important to me.
Flickr is a way for people establish themselves in this new program. It allows users upload their favorite pictures and to tag with them words that would make it easy to find. This system allows other people to view other user’s files who share their interests. It’s a fun way to see what other people are in to. Flickr works in a similar way to Google by bringing up the files that have the largest number of “convergence.? I think that this is an interesting program that I haven’t heard of until recently. What I like about it is how it steers clear of political and ethical issues by having this system of convergence.

In Computers We Trust

In the past, I have been impartial to those who create slightly tilted online identities. I never put much thought into it. Personally, I have been straightforward online with regards to who I am, what I look like, and have always used my full name. I have never used an avatar. Up until a few days ago, I didn’t even know the term avatar.

Logging on to Second Life was similar to my experience visiting House on the Rock in Dodgeville Wisconsin. Every time I visited a new page (room), I kept thinking, this can’t exist, this is crazy! But 3 million ‘residents’ as well as IBM view it differently. IBM’s CEO Sam Palmisano Calls “3-D realms such as Second Life the ‘next phase of the Internet's evolution' and says they may have ‘the same level of impact’ as the first Web explosion? (Kirkpatrick, Second Life: It’s Not a Game). Several other corporations have become or want to become inhabitants of this “admixture of fantasy and reality? world (Kirkpatrick, Second Life: It’s Not a Game) to the point that the creators of Second Life, Linden Lab, is having difficulty keeping up with the demands. While Second Life’s growing success may appear to be connecting online users (mostly cartoon-like avatars), it also creates a grey area of authenticity. Interesting how the word avatar stems from the Sanskirt word “word Avat?ra, meaning ‘incarnation’? (Wikipedia). Further, the word is related to the eighth avatar of the Hindu religion, Krishna. Which was subsequently, in the 60’s, borrowed by the infamous cult the Hare Krishnas. Are the ‘residents’ of Second Life not only re-incarnating their identities as well as joining a cult? And how healthy is it to wear an online ‘mask’ for a up to a quarter of your day? In her book, Turkle states that, “on it (the internet) people are able to build a self by cycling through many selves.? (Turkle, Life On The Screen, p 178). Again, I am impartial or indifferent to the somewhat fictional identities we find online. On one side I see the benefits of vicarious wish fulfillment that releases psychic energy and allows an individual to socialize and adapt normally. But I also see how detrimental Second Life can be when the user needs to act accordingly in the RL (real world) and the communication skills they will fail to learn or maintain. Skills such as facial expressions, body language, even physical proximity which all play into communication. This lack of complete communication is disconcerting as well as the loss of physical community (opposed to online community). Turkle states, “we seem to be in the process of retreating to our homes, shopping for merchandise out of catalogues or on television channels, shopping for companionship via personal ads.? (Turkle, Life On the Screen, p. 235)
For instance, I went shopping at the Mall of America during the holiday season. It was extremely empty and the sales associates looked miserable. I asked, where are all of the shoppers? They replied, buying gifts online. Moreover I went out to eat (downtown Minneapolis) at restaurant the other night and my husband and I were 2 of 4 patrons in the restaurant.
In conclusion, I believe that virtual worlds can be healthy if used in moderation. I believe that employing an avatar or several avatars is a great outlet for self-exploration. But I also believe that the greater the increase of accessibility to live your entire life online (shopping, dating, trading, working), the greater the chance that commerce will fail, as well as town halls, bars, restaurants, YMCAs, and other venues that bring people together. We will eventually be completely co-dependent on a machine, the computer.

A Second Identity for Second Life

I began using the internet by way of America Online when I was in middle school. For awhile I would spend time in chatrooms since they were so easily available on the interface. I don't really remember which rooms I frequented more than others, unless I chose by location. For the most part, I didn't change any aspects of myself to better express them online, but I do think I remember lying about personal aspects a few times. I suppose I did so because I was able to, and it caused me to avoid topics I didn't want to get into, and maybe even to make the person more interested in talking to me. I never spent a whole lot of time on the chatrooms, though, and once our America Online subscription ended and we were off to another service, my chatroom use ended with it, much like Robert from the reading (Turkle, 202). These days I just chat online with people I already know so in a way i'ts more personal, but at the same time, beyond talking to those people online I really don't put much at all of my personal self online. I generally keep a fairly close profile online, kind of like I do in real life.

In looking at the Second Life page, the metaverse seems like an interesting place to explore, and its users obviously have created a sense of community there, but I have trouble seeing the appeal of it, beyond the novelty of exploring the universe and talking with other users. The most curious aspect of Second Life to me is that users pay for items for their avatars, something that the user him or herself won't ever be able to hold. However, I do see the purpose of shopping for real items on the system, something which is doubtlessly going to take hold as Kirkpatrick mentioned its "huge opportunities to sell products and services." The way Second Life is described makes it seem like something of a recreation of real life without any real improvement over real life. Once on this train of thought its hard to divert it from thoughts of Turkle's interviews, and what effectsthat programs like Second Life can have on and what purposes they serve our mental well being.

I'm a Man in a Suit... Not a Level 47 Warrior

In my experience with an online identity, I’ve never used my real name. The closest thing to my real name is my identity on this blog, as it is my U of M identity. However, with the Second Life interface, I would be more inclined to use a real name, maybe not my real name, but a name that could be real. This is because unlike a messaging program like AIM, or a game like World of Warcraft, it is meant to mimic real life. You can even buy your own land, and it is tempting. As for avatars, I usually don’t try to make them look like me, although I have used a picture of myself as an avatar in some online forums. In the Second Life interface I would not want to make an avatar that looks like me. I see the Second Life as a way to lead a second, simultaneous life, and what fun would it be if you looked the same in both lives?
“’Nintendo has a good one [game] where you can play four characters. But even though they are very cool,’ he says, ‘they are written up for you.’ They seem artificial. In contrast, on the MUDs…he says he feels free.? (Turkle, 236). The freedom to create an avatar that looks however a person wants it to look is definitely what is making the Second Life interface so popular. In comparison to a video game, this interface seems less childish. It isn’t marketed as a game, in fact, the opposite. Sex clubs and bars are something that isn’t seen in video games, and IBM executives in suits indulging in an online world is proof.

Who am I?

Ever since I first started posting on message boards and playing the few online games I've played regularly, I've had an online identity, essentially a name I call myself in every online thing I've done. I've always used some variation of the same thing, either CombatC or CombatC122, in everything from games and message boards to email and instant messaging. So far, I've found this identity hasn't carried over from one thing to another since no one in one community has ever recognized the name from a different community or game, but within individual communities, it provides me with an identifier while allowing me to remain somewhat anonymous. I even have people I consider friends who know me by my screen name. Generally, I suppose the identity represented by the name is pretty similar to my own since I don't approach online discussions any differently than I would normal ones, but I'm sure the simple nature of being anonymous and allowing me to express myself with written rather than spoken words could give people a different impression of me whether they know me online or in real life. I'm definitely quieter in real life than I am online, and my online friends really can't get to know me as well as they would if they knew me in person. I mostly just talk about pretty superficial things with them, like common interests and random stuff going on in our lives, and I try to stay away from overly sensitive or personal information that I might not necessarily consider so sensitive or personal if I was talking to someone face to face. Most of them seem like pleasant people who I wouldn't mind meeting in a chance encounter somewhere, but I don't think I'd ever go out of my way to meet anyone I only know online.

While the kinds of online communties I'm used to involve pretty simple discussions and the people who continually show up for those discussions, Second Life takes the concept of community to the extreme and actually allows you to design a new life for yourself. On one level, all it's really doing is taking those kinds of discussions away from the context of simple lines of text on a computer screen and placing them in a more relatable, human environment, like a bar or restaurant. Part of the fun of having friends is going out and actually doing stuff with them, which is one level I've found I haven't been able to relate to my online friends as well as my real life friends. Sometimes, I don't really feel like interacting with them not because I don't want to, but simply because I don't have anything interesting to say to them. Second Life is able to give you that illusion of taking your friends out. But then, that's all it is, an illusion. You're talking to people in the context of being at a bar, but is that the same as actually being at a bar? I particularly like Turkle's analogy of main street and Disney World to explain this (Turkle, Life in the Network, 234). An online cafe is a representation of what a cafe actually is, but it's there for a totally different purpose. You may go out to a restaurant to meet friends, but you also go there to eat food, which you need in order to stay alive. Meanwhile, your online avatar in Second Life may appear human, but it's still a computer program. It certainly doesn't need to eat, and yet you can get food for it when you go to the virtual cafe to meet your online friends. But even though nothing in Second Life is actually real, it's interesting how wealth in the virtual community corresponds to real life wealth, exemplified by how money within the virtual world and real dollars are interchangable. The story of Anshe Chung is particularly remarkable (Kirkpatrick, It's Not a Game, 3). I can't imagine having that much money and being an employer simply because I'm doing well in what amounts to a huge online game. In a way though, the world itself is sort of like an avatar of the real world, just as the people are avatars of what they are in real life. Some things are similar, but overall it's a representation of how we wish the world was.

January 30, 2007

I'm Just Me...

I am also concerned about security. When I’m communicating on the net, it is usually my own identity. I use my name since it is with people I know, or I’m doing online banking, checking stocks, etc. I’m not a chatter or blogger. Doesn't sound too exciting but I'm ok with it. I use the internet as a source of information even though I like to know what's happening out there. So, I have not used an avatar to represent myself. If I did, I don’t believe I would want to look like someone else. Okay, maybe I’d be a couple of inches taller since I’m short.

I had not heard of Second Life before this assignment. When I read about it, SL reminded me of the game SIMS that my kids have on their PC. I had a hard time understanding why people paid for islands, companies, etc in a virtual world. I was sure I misunderstood what I was reading. Today in the Star Tribune Opinion section (is that what they still call it?), there is a write-up of Second Life. It was pretty interesting. Yes, people actually have PayPal accounts and spend money for virtual stuff. I find that utterly crazy! In the article, it mentions that you need to pay for everything from being a human, to height, and even genitals. I’m still amazed at the money spent. WOW! I’m unclear as to what the businesses are doing with it as far as holding meetings etc. Retail makes sense to me. What a great marketing/advertising ploy. Not only will users have items virtual, they will physically want them as well. It is clunky to work with. I wasn't successful with my download of SL.

Turkle writes about role-playing versus our parallel lives. I think role-playing on the net can be a helpful tool. As she writes, “MUDs provide worlds for anonymous social interaction.? Many people solve issues via the net instead of face-to-face. As in the example of Julee or Gordon, role-playing can have a positive affect. Clean slates allow people to make new friends and connections. If counseling is needed, the success rate is higher for those who use the net. Apparently people feel less inhibited and can be themselves while an avatar. It is a good way to talk to someone while remaining anonymous. Turkle does go on to talk about the dark side of this – the loss of self-esteem, isolation, etc. If MUDing becomes an addiction, like anything else, it’s not healthy.

My second life (possibly even my third or fourth?)

I must say I havn't remembered a time being connected to the internet in which I wasn't hiding behind some sort of screen name/userid/avatar or the like. The first thing I used the internet was aol instant messanger and while it sort of shows my name (my initials plus MN and three numbers), it still keeps some degree of anonymity. While chatting with your friends who know you it cuts down a bunch because they can make the mental connection between you and your screen name. One disadvantage to this factor is that people might accidently say things to one screen name when they are under the assumption that the person using the program is the actual person with that screen name (IE, maybe your roomate or friend of some sort has signed on to your aol?). I remember this happening a few times with some quite private information being given out. As far as having an avatar I don't really have one at the moment (although I have a buddy Icon which is a picture of blonde dude throwing his hands in the air so maybe that'd be some sort of an avatar).In any case other examples I have had of this were: I used to play Diablo and Diablo II online and you had your own individual character of which you could name, purchase items for, and customize to some degree (sorta like a WOW character for those newer gamers). I think The Sims online kinda fits to this category as well.

As far as the second life website goes I didn't really see a reason to sign up for an account but a few things I noticed that were pretty interesting to it: Its open source so you can essentially create whatever you want for your avatar, you buy and purchase land (with real money too?), of course it has a blog, and its free. Also the fact that you can hold virtual business meetings on it and all the other strange possibilities. As you can tell by my tone I'm not a huge proponent of this concept in general. I liken it to the fact that people might feel so enveloped in their virtual lives that they tend to overlook the real life that surrounds them. The author makes an anology to a child she interviewed who was highly involved into a well known roleplaying (I would call it an anologue version of virtual) game called Dungeons and Dragons, "One ten-year-old boy explained that Dungeons and Dragons was like history, except that Dungeons and Dragons 'is more complicated... there are hundreds and hundreds of books about Dungeons and Dragons' As far as this boy knew, there was only one book about history, his textbook." (Turkle 237). I do however like how the author likens virtuality to the effect that people get when reading books (just in much more extreme cases). I can imagine some times in which it would be nice to escape one's life to an imaginary one. The author quotes someone on this as well, "I live in a terrible part of town. I see a rat hole of an apartment, i see a dead-end job, i see AIDS. Down here (in the MUD) I see friends, I have something to offer, I see safe sex." (Turkle 239). For sake of keeping my post from getting to long I think that should be enough for my post.

I want to talk a little bit more about how money got involved into second life because I found this fascinating. Not sure if we were supposed to go into that article or not but I jumped at something related to my major. In second life you can purchase money called the Linden Dollar. This money can be used on the site to purchase things with the main thing being land. An interesting fact is that the sites creators are finding increased pressure to appreciate the Linden Dollar against the american dollar because of the difference in growth rates in world (in the second life economy) and out world (US). Of course the sites creators created a few ways to manage the virtual money supply and curb this which I find quite hilarious. A virtual economy? My question is this: will we someday see the value of the Linden shown in the money pages in our local news paper (or is it now? I havn't looked).

stepping foot into my SECOND LIFE

In the past, I actually used a ‘disguised name’ other than my screen name. I first used AOL and met quite a number of people there. Everyone knew me as that disguised name, or ‘pseudonym’ but it was the fact that I was also fourteen-fifteen years old and felt like I should not give too much information out. Now, I use blogs where I don’t worry as much with my identity although I usually put my blogs on private for friends only. I don’t think I’ve had any real big issues with identity online before because I’ve always kept most of the information secured. Other than using aim to chat and blogs, I’ve never actually experienced using avatars before.

Second Life is something completely new to me! I think it is very intriguing and a great invention. It’s amazing the things you are able to do from creating your own image, building your own space to however you wished, becoming your own business owner, and meeting new people from all over the world. I actually created an account myself to see how it really works although it is a little more complicated than I imagined. This is truly a new way of meeting people online, by building your own avatars where “each person dreams up his own avatar. A control panel allows you to adjust your avatar's body, including eye color, cheek thickness, pant length, and girth. You can make it resemble your real self, or someone - or something - else.? (Kirkpatrick, David) There is even talk of voice conversation coming which adds to the whole package! It’s amazing what technology can offer us today and I believe it will only continue to surprise us.

There are different reasons to use Second Life as David Kirkpatrick states, “In the case of IBM, it's not just a matter of touting the wonders of Second Life; it's really using it - both as a business opportunity and as an internal tool.?

The Life One Builds for One's Self.

This is a good assignment because people my age have been having second online identities since we were little kids (I am 21). For example, I play an online game called nation states. It is a game that lets you be the leader of your own cyber nation. The game gives you issues of which you are allowed to choose from, and then ultimately support, or dismiss. In this world, you can also band together with other players (nations) and form regions within the nation states world. My friends and I have done this. It is a fun game because one’s identity is totally confidential, other gamers only know you as the “leader? of your nation state. This is great; because the things people decide to do to their populous…well, I would hope would not happen in real life. As far as my “character? being human, it is not. My character/avatar is a nation, which takes on characteristics based upon the legislation I pass daily. The nation can grow (as it did when I raised taxes) or it can shrink (as it did when I put all people with harpies on a deserted island). Therefore, the game has consequences. Ultimately, this game allows one to gain a second online identity of a world leader, bent on what ever form or life one would want to build for one’s self, and nation.

Nations States is a great example of how we as a society are beginning to become more an extension of the computers we spend so much time using. As Turkle points in Life on the Screen, “many of the intuitions that brought people together- a main street, a union hall, a town meeting, no longer work as they did before.? She continues to state that, “being the social beings we are, we are trying [to use the internet for which we spend all our time on] to re-socialize (p 178).? Nation States is a prime example of people socializing on a web based reality. Nation States is its own world, with social groups dominated by people discussing everything from dictatorships and genocide, to what’s on TV later that night. While many people, as little as twenty years ago would have come together in a non-internet forum to discuss how nations should be run, today one can achieved this without leavening one’s home.

Second Life goes onto prove Turkles assessment that internet based worlds are not to be demeaned as mere play sites as once thought. They are indeed webs of interaction and socialization between people. The real draw of Second life over Nations States lies in first person interaction. While Nations States lets one act on behalf of a nation, in Second Life, one acts on one’s own behalf. In this game, you are…you. Your character becomes an extension of your self, and you have the ability to interact with other people. As if they were next to you in the room. Therefore, society is indeed beginning to draw them into the internet and taking on characteristics, and alternate identities through their computers. According to Kirkpatrick, “More than 2.6 million have checked it out, a figure that in mid-January was growing by about 20,000 per day (CNN 01/27/07). Also, major firms such as IBM are looking to worlds like Second Life as new areas for economic growth. This means that the potential of Second life as becoming a mainstream venue could be a reality.

Get A (second) Life

I am very security conscious. Probably stems from my days in the service with Naval Intelligence and my current profession as a computer programmer. I’ve given far more information to this course blog than to any other online entity. It’s an issue of trust. I have an inherent trust of the students at the University of Minnesota. We all belong to an actual physical community and are merely online as a medium for communication versus being total strangers conducting business online. I do not use my real name online, only pseudonyms. I have never used an avatar. I primarily manage my investments and conduct other business online. I have never role-played in the MUDs. That doesn’t mean that my online experiences are dull however. I find that “getting away? from the office to research a stock and make a trade or two extremely therapeutic (Sherry Turkle, Identity in the Age of the Internet, p. 197). I can’t say I get away from some of the tortured lives Ms. Turkle investigated, or that I have an online addiction. But getting away from the daily barrage at work really helps me get through the day.

Rooting around Second Life was quite interesting. It reminded me graphically of early 1980’s Apple II computer games. Those games were only interactive whereas Second Life is reactive. Ms. Turkle conducted her research in 1995. How far Second Life has come from the text based virtual reality to that of the graphics and avatars of today, as klunky as they may be. The panoptic (Turkle, p. 246) view individuals have in the virtual reality space of Second Life is very interesting. Granted, this view is classically only reserved for the wizards (system administrators) (Turkle, p. 248), however, I think everyone also has that power because you are not really there. You can observe others interactions with one another and disguise your own true identity.

What's My Identity?

My desicions that I have made about my online identity for the most part have been to keep a little private. I hear too much about online identity theft where hackers can get into your system and find out who you are with just a little bit of information. I really never have used my real legal name in the past when having to give my name online. I also don't give out my real birthdate, address, or phone number. I think all this is pretty standard now. It's really hard to trust people on the net and it's a wise move not to give out your personal information. I have also recieved very convincing e-mails in the past from Discover Card and other credit card companies claiming I needed to give them my credit card number, name, ss#, etc. It looked very authentic and when I clicked on the site, it looked very similar to the original Discover Card site, however it was a scam and I never did give out any of my information. I don't really log in to any virtual worlds and I don't have any avatars or anything like that. I just don't have time to log in to a virtual world and play online for hours on end, I find human contact more appealing. I think that some people just find that being in the online world is more appealing. In turkle's book, "Life on the Screen," she says, searching for an easy fix, we are eager to believe that the Internet will provide an effective substitute for face-to-face interaction, (Turkle, 236).

Second Life was really new to me. I didn't know anything about it and I never heard anything from it. When exploring the site I noticed it was moving really slow and I had to double and even triple click things just to get around. I did notice that you could buy virtual property and then sell it and make money off of it? People spend a lot of money to build their own virtual house and then sell it for real money? This to me sounds insane. Actually I think the encyclopedia Brittanica should add this to there definition of insanity. I read in "it's not a game article" that One resident, whose avatar is known as Anshe Chung, has become a celebrity of sorts by claiming to have accumulated a real-world net worth of more than $1 million in Second Life real estate. She now employs 30 people in China who build things and otherwise improve the land she buys and develops for resale. (Kirkpatrick, 3). Wow, that's all I can say to that. I believe online communities does however play apart in developing our identites. When we step through the screen into virtual communities, we reconstruct our identites on the other side of the looking glass, (Turkle, 177). I believe that's why so many people make there avatars into fit, dressed well, 20 somethings, instead of there real selves. Turkle also goes to say, play has always been an important aspect of our individual efforts to build identity, (Turkle, 184). Which is basically stating that when we play online, the way we play is apart of our identity building. I am not too familiar with online virtual games however I'm sure that we can make choices as how to play, either we kill an advisary, or leave them alone, or we can talk to them.

I really enjoyed these readings and really had no idea what Second Life was until well just about 25 minutes ago. It's all really new and interesting to me.

Here's to Flickr

Me, Daniela, and Tequila

This is my fiancé and me taking tequila shots. Tequila is my favorite shot... not hers. Don't worry, I'm not putting this up because I want to show that I'm cool, and I drink, but rather because I don't own a digital camera, and this is one of the few pictures on my computer. However, I do like this picture, because it shows us having a good time (with our friends whom you can’t see), and that’s something that I feel should definitely be part of the college experience.

I enjoyed the short reading from Sturtz. The part I found perhaps the most interesting was what Google actually does when you hit that search button. I found the idea of the “Google Bomb? to be very interesting. I am studying Marketing and Public Relations, and the Google Bomb is right up that ally. I really think that Large Companies who have the resources are going to take advantage of this type of search process, as Sturtz gave the John Kerry and Waffles link situation. I feel that many Public Relation firms will start to do this same type of thing as a grass roots tactic.

After Reading about Flickr, I tried it out, and was quite surprised how easy it was to use. My roommate has used in the past, and when compared to each other, Flickr definitely takes the cake. I think many people will find the tagging feature very useful. It’s just another way that the internet is becoming more interactive and user friendly.

The reading out of Cyberliteracy is something that I feel most modern day internet users should read. While reading it, I was thinking to myself that this would be something great to one day have our children read, so they could see what things were like when the internet first came out, and even prior to that. The readings almost make you step back, and be thankful for all the great things the internet can provide us, yet reminds us not to lose sight of the importance of things such as actual person-to-person contact. I’ve had previous classes where the issue of the internet making society too impersonal has come up, and everyone agreed that while the internet is a great tool, there are just some things that it can not replace. For example, while I saw that someone posted the fact that Flickr acts as a community of people, and a way for people to check up on each other, it will never be the same as actually sitting down and talking to that person about their experiences.

My Late Start

Hi everyone, I’m sorry that this is so late. I joined the class late, and have had some technical difficulties.

My name is Scott Szesterniak. I am a full-time student majoring in Marketing and PR. This is my last semester of school, so I’m going to try and make the most out of it. Outside of school I find myself partaking in various sporting activities, and watching a fairly decent amount of TV. I’ve just recently started watching the show Heroes, which I give two thumbs up. Some “interesting? facts about me…..Hmmmm…. Well…My real name is Peter, but I’ve always gone by my middle name, Scott.

The first computer I used was the good ol’ Apple IIGS. I thought it was pretty cool at the time, but then again, so was wearing zooba pants. However, the first interaction I had with the internet was not with that particular computer, which by the way I had until my 8th grade year. I believe my first internet experience was in computer class my 7th grade year. This is where I learned the concept surfing the web, and how to follow the protocol needed to do it. It only took a few days before I was getting kicked out of class for being on sites that I shouldn’t have. While I knew what I did was wrong, I also knew something else; Our Apple IIGS at home couldn’t do that! After a year of telling my dad that our home computer was outdated, we went out and had a PC built for us. I distinctly remember loading AOL on it, so we could surf the web. Eventually, I started downloading MP3’s, and the use of yahoo! became a great search tool to aid me with my homework.

I currently use the internet as my primary source of information, and secondary source for entertainment. However, until reading the article, I was never familiar with the concept of WEB 2.0. I have been able to recognize that the internet has become much more interactive and user friendly in the past couple years. I look forward to the effects that the concept WEB 2.0 will continue to have on the internet.

Computer Brand Preference

Which Brand of computer do you trust and most prefer?

Hewlett Packard

January 29, 2007

Cars are my passion...cyberliteracy was sold out, hopefully this blog isn't to late......

Get Serious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is just on of many shots of a great passion of mine which is building and tuning cars. The picture above is my one of personal vehicles. I cannot really recall how much money has been spent pursuing this passion, but I do not do it for others, but for my own personal satisfaction and enjoyment. Except now I have a shop so people can pay me to help them realize this enjoyment!!!

I thought the readings were quite interesting. Sturtz was quite informative for myself because I really had no understanding of what a folksonomy was until I read his article. The use of flickr was also completely new to me. Sturtz article helped give me some insight as to how some major search engines generally operate, but when dealing with tagging in my personal experience it can only give me a general sense as to what I might be searching for. For example when I was searching through flickr for "cars" it returned a gamma of pictures (over 1.3 million) with alot of them having nothing to do with cars in my opinion. I then changed my tag on my pics to import tuner cars, and my search then returned less then 1500 results. It is very interactive concept though that we as the users basically have control over how these folksonomies are integrated on today and the future of internet use.

What I found more interesting then Sturtz reading was from the book "Cyberliteracy" because it made me stop and think for a moment how dependent and integrated my lifestyle has become with the cyberworld. I look through my emails and laugh at my poo spelling and puncuation, but we are entering a new era of communication and its all electronic. Then I look at how much you really do isolate yourself when you hop on your computer and enter your electronic world. It does not compare to having a face to face talk with your best friend, or hearing a real voice, but we have become somewhat dependant on our emails and uber fast response times for our everyday lives. If I observed nothing else from these first two chapters than the new found awareness I have when entering the cyberworld and not forgetting reality, I think this book is definitly worth reading.

January 28, 2007

If I had to tag my week, I would choose between "busy" or "exhausting", but this assignment would be tagged as "late."


I thought I would use this opportunity for a plug as long as I have to post a photo. This is a picture of the ragtag group of misfits I play music with on a regular basis. Usually at the 400 Bar on Cedar and Franklin in the West Bank area, but we tour other cities when we're all able to. Our name is Nallo and the Rosy Dozers and more info can be fount at our myspace page.
I found the readings interesting and it's the first time I've really been exposed to the term folksonomy but there is no doubt it's an apt term. I feel like the Sturtz piece had a nice explanation of the expected and observed benefits [and drawbacks] of such a system though it was a pretty general examination. As a regular user of such systems (though Flickr is completely new to me) the real potent information comes from use rather than broad list of observations. For example, the example Sturtz cites regarding a user tagging their photo with the term 'flower' brought back terrible memories of scrolling through pages and pages of results on any of a number of catalogue-oriented sites. This major fault in the folksonomy approach to categorization is a reminder that in order to get the most out of such a system one must keep in mind the social aspects of the new web in which we work. Users of a site like are probably mostly under thirty and well-acquainted with the internet; some however, probably aren't. The challenge, for the administration of such a site, is to stay accessible enough for the general public and yet stay specialized enough for the newly-evolving sect of high-power users that are looking for specifics; i.e. Helianthus annuus instead of sunflower instead of flower, or all three?

January 27, 2007

Snowboarding, Tagging Woes


This photo was taken by my friend Lisa Skaff when we worked at a snowboard camp at Mt. Hood in Oregon. My job at the camp was more or less "IT Guy". I fixed computers, adminstrated the network, and wrote software to manage their inventory. This image shows me doing my favorite thing: enjoying the mountains on a snowboard.

As previous posts have mentioned, oftentimes when searching for content by tag one expects that a particular topic would be tagged with particular keywords. For example, I would expect, when searching for images of, say, a particular snowboarding trick (the above image depicts an "indy"), that a search for the keyword "indy" would yield relevant results. Of course, many other things would also be returned for such a search, for instance images related independent films, or the skateboard company "Independent". This is not much of a problem, as I can simply further winnow the result set down with more constraints. However, I have no way of knowing whether someone posted an image that I would be interested in if he or she instead only tagged it with "snowboarding", or perhaps "half pipe". Certainly I can search simply "snowboarding", and browse around until I find an interesting picture. Or I can peruse tags on images also tagged "snowboarding", and find tags related to other tricks that I might be interested in. This problem seems related to, or another face of, the issue a previous poster brought up of different cultures or groups using different vocabulary to describe data.

Therefore, tagging seems to be useful more as a method of browsing a data set, and less as a method of searching a data set. Specifically, because tagging relies on the tagger's understanding of a piece of data in order to properly organinze it, a search over a set of tags will often yield incomplete results, with no way of determining whether the results are in fact incomplete. Meaningful, useful data can become "lost" to searching if tags are the only means of categorizing it.

Another issue associated with tagging is that tags seem to have a tendency toward either generality or over-specificity. By this I mean that one might find an image taked with "restaurant", which yields almost no information; it is too general. On the other hand one might come across an image tagged "Mike"; it is far too specific. Finding the "sweetspot" of useful information is difficult, and it seems that people often miss the mark. I know that my tags, for example "tree", might be a bit too general.

January 26, 2007

My view of the world

Morning sunrise

This photo was taken last year from our back yard. We live 16 miles from downtown but we still have a wonderful view of Minneapolis in the winter when the trees are bare. I am 20 minutes from work downtown but I still have a view of the city. We even have deer in the backyard. In my mind I have the best of both worlds.

The way Sturtz describes the way tagging works reminds me of a bubble sort programmers used years ago when they had to write a program to sort alpha or numeric figures. The decision was a tree with either a yes or no response. When we execute a search on Google, the sort takes place in the background providing the most reliable result. With YouTube or Flickr, the user is manipulating the sort each step of the way.

The tag of "perfection" can lead to a beach in Australia (nice photo), or a fancy car or a perfect meal. With each additional tag the tree of decision gets refined and leads the surfer closer and closer to their intended goal. Many times the surfer ends up at a location that was never the intended initial site. If my initial goal is perfection in a meal, I may end up researching the sandy beaches of Austrailia.

Lost in translation...


This is one of my favorite pictures from Australia. It may not deserve a pulitzer, but the story behind it is great. This is from my 'spring break' trip that I took in October where we camped on the largest sand island in the world. We had just setting up camp and were off to play touch football on the beach. I love the colors, and can almost feel the cool sand on my feet when I look at it. I think it says a lot about me because I love the outdoors, adore the beach and worship sunsets. All of this while I'm in a different country, learning about new cultures and making new friends. It was perfection.

Perfection may be what I call this picture, but what would you call it? If i tagged this photo on Flickr as 'perfection' anyone looking for anything remotely related to the definition of perfection may wonder what the heck this odd shot of some girl on a beach is doing under that tag. 'Folksonomy' on Flickr and Google can take a picture, once thought to be worth 1000 words, and reduce it down to one or two words. Anyone that has done a Google search for something rather obscure knows just how frustrating it can be to look up something like "porkchops" and come up with some random teenagers blog.

In relation to Cyberliteracy, blogging, and tagging, language as we know it is evolving before our eyes. My mom has finally figured out what I mean when I write "btw" in my emails and has started shortening things herself when she texts me. It has taken her a while to get used to the new 'cyber lingo' while I on the other hand pretty much grew up with it. I am not certain who is at the disadvantage in this situation. She has no problem writing formal letters and emails while I on the other hand write most of my 'important' emails in Word just to make certain that I don't have any stupid spelling errors. If my grasp on proper English has slipped so much, I wonder how my little brothers will fare. I hope that future generations will still be taught the proper way of writing, and cringe every time something like "lol" is added to the dictionary.

Thoughts on Sturtz, and the Ups and Downs of Self-Catagorization.

The Founding Fathers of the United States.

I am a political science major, and in good fashion I like to study these men who founded the US government. This is a great picture because one can enjoy it without necessarily debating the nature of the fathers in a realistic sense, but rather in a romantic sense. Sometimes, in history, romanticism can be just as influential as realism. That is why I posted this picture.

The other reason I posted this picture is because of the use of folksonomy I used to find the picture. According to Sturtz, Google uses folksonomy though its web based algorithms when retrieving data from the internet. I typed in founding fathers into this search engine, and it tagged this portrait from the title it had on a web page (verses the picture itself as in the system used by this web page) of the founding fathers I was looking for. Also, I think that being able to participate in the act of creating my own classification sytemes are neat to, as seen in Flickr.
I however, do believe that the “democratic? way that folksonomy, and indeed classification of information that is used can be a double edged sword. This is because I believe in what Sturtz said, that ideas and concepts can be all but forgotten in a system that is not hierarchical, due to either the lack of interest in the area, or the controversial nature of an issue. It would be shame if information was lost to the ages just because no one categorized it.

As far as Cyberliteracy is concerned, I think it addresses a very valid point for this section. That over use of internet communication has depleted its importance. In personal experience, I have looked at how I write e-mails, and how my grandparents write letters. We have entirely different ways of communication through these mediums. When I e-mail people, it is usually informal, and it’s usually meant to communicate a need for something. My grandparents, and indeed their generation write each other letters to see how people are doing, what’s up, and that general stuff. These days I would either pick up my cell phone, or hop on AIM (America Online Instant Messenger) to achieve this. I really think, that the generation of our grandparents put more meaning into communication because they communicated/traveled less. When they sat down to write a letter, they made sure it communicated to their reader what it is they were doing/feeling/otherwise. Unlike modern instant messaging. Example I LUV U...says a lot...

January 25, 2007

Jump! [and] Folksonomies will lead to new ways of understanding!

Kate and Mike Jump

This is most definitely my favorite picture. It comes from this summer while I was visiting my boyfriend’s family in Detroit Lakes. It was very early on in the summer, and the water was not quite warm. So, we were dared to jump in. I grabbed my boyfriend’s (Mike) hand and said, “Let’s go!? I think this is a pretty good depiction of the type of person I am. No fear, no risk, just opportunities to experience life. I really enjoy summertime because it allows me to put my worries away and try new things. I visited Detroit Lakes several times over the summer and grew to love the simplicity of just hanging out and taking things slow. . . a change of pace from my normal day-to-day activities.

I really enjoyed the article by Sturtz. I respect the way he presents the idea of a folksonomy, and I feel that he attributes a lot of control of the term to users. It intrigues me that we have come-up with definitions about the different and unique ways internet communications are categorized. It is truly a whole new field of study. I find it equally intriguing that he really believes that users are the true definers of the structure of the content. It is unlike any other area of study that is already well-defined. While the internet seems to have changed the way we categorize things, I think we, as users, need to be vigilant not to redefine what is already true (this might apply more to Cyberliteracy). My favorite quote from the article is, “Giving the end user control over the organization of content can also allow entirely new domains to develop? (Sturtz 4). Pretty cool!

Flickr uses folksonomies, as mentioned in the article by Sturtz. When an item is tagged in a photo, users can find other users’ photos with a shared name. This allows a very cool way to browse topics, and relate to other people’s lives. I believe it gives people of sense of connection and community when they find that they share interests, beliefs, and common photos with each other.

Lastly, after reading the first few chapters of Cyberliteracy, by Gurak, I believe I have gained even more insight on how to utilize and be careful while using the internet. My favorite sections were on multiplicity and globalness. It is truly amazing how many people we can be in connection with through the internet. When we can reach so many people at once, especially across the world, I think we hold some true power. But, I also feel like the number of messages and communications are so abundant that meaning gets lost, there is a lot of noise and clutter to cut through, and it is difficult for one to know what is real, useful and meaningful. My favorite quote here was, “Multiplicity drives e-commerce? (Gurak 34). I work in e-commerce, and have recently found the power of online tools such as pay-per-click, banner ads, targeted emails, and online advertising in general.

Language Creating Connection

Crazy Jonesy!
My roommate's puppy, Jonesy, is a little over 5 months old now. I live with four other guys, so Jonesy gets more than enough attention, and maybe gets too much. In any case, he alternates between extremely active and totally lazy. This picture is as close as I can get to showing how crazy he can get. For some reason, he really loves playing with another roommate's keys...he's a little weird!

Like another poster, my Cyberliteracy book hasn't arrived yet. Regardless, it is clear that the advent of sites such as Flickr and marks an era of deeper and broader user involvement. Although many people might be spending more and more time on the computer nowadays (and spending less time interacting face-to-face with their friends/family/etc.), I think that ideas like Flickr can help people retain or even build a sense of community. People can find others with similar interests in a new way, and the visual medium can bring more life or a sense of reality to those who wish it. Not only that, but photos can transport us to literally anywhere in seconds--anywhere is a tag away. If people want to compare styles malls, let's say...the pictures can be found instantly if the tags are consistent.

That brings me to the other point I wanted to make: some language is specific to a culture or generation, as we all know. Since the most common tags are the ones that are shown first for a specific search, this might limit search results to a specific country or age group--but I cannot imagine that this limitation would be common. This could actually be an interesting topic to study, since I know that younger teens chatting online had useful code (like typing "6" to indicate that a parent was in the room--then the other teen would know to stop talking about certain topics). It would not be surprising if something similar happened with tags for websites of interest to young teens. I can imagine young teens using tags similar to shorthand text (like "hawt"). Cross-culturally, there exists the problem of different words for the same thing (British English: boot=American English: trunk). Perhaps this would spark adoption of other cultures' dialects, or even of learning about the other culture. This is very exciting to me.

Open to the general public

Bird on the OB pier 2006 01-05

(I made a separate Flickr account for this class from my personal account which has hundreds of my pictures on it)

I took this photo while visiting San Diego a little over a year ago. The bird was following me down the pier and just kept posing for my camera. I really like how this one turned out with San Diego (Ocean Beach) in the back ground.

I personally am a great fan of sites such as Flickr. I admittedly have spent many hours tagging my photos, looking at my friend’s photos and just generally searching through the millions of photos on the site. I think creating communities of images (such as Flickr) that can easily be sorted by a key word(s) is awesome. I am a very visual person and love to have a place where I can easily look up images; I put pictures on pretty much everything I do and before Flickr it could be hard sometimes to find that perfect image. I like that on Flickr you make the decision of who can look at your images, whether only by people you select or by everyone. There are definitely some pictures on my main Flickr account that I wouldn’t want just anyone to see. I am constantly going through my pictures for various reasons (and I have hundreds of them on here) so I love how easy it is now that I have almost all of my pictures tagged. I do think it is important for everyone to keep in mind that the images put on sights such as Flickr can easily be used by anyone for anything. As an amateur photographer I keep my prized photographs off sights such as these so they aren’t used without my consent. I also think it’s important to understand that you are voluntarily putting your photos on these sights and it is at your own risk.

It's fun to FLICKR!


From left to right it’s Beth, Jackie, and then me! The three of us have been best friends going on 12 years. We enjoy hanging out, shopping, watching movies, and traveling. For the past 5 years we’ve been going on a trip in March for a week, and this year the plan is to go to Miami, Florida, which will be nice to get out of this cold Minnesota weather for a while!!

Flickr is definitely something new to me. However, it was very user friendly. There were no problems uploading the pictures. Sometimes programs like this can be very technical and give you no directions on how to set up an account; this was not the case with Flickr. I will probably continue to use Flickr to organize the millions of pictures I have stored on my digital camera that I haven’t done anything with.

Folksonomies in general help individuals organize content and allow them to store them in various folders by using a system of classifying. It’s also a convenient way to save time and money for development. The user can send pictures to family and friends via email and save money on the cost to print the picture as well as the postage to get it to them. This is yet another great reminder of how the advancement of technology, in particular the Internet, has simplified the way of doing something.

However, I do see how some individuals might be a little torn and reluctant about such interactive sites such as Flickr. Laura Gurak, in chapter two discusses privacy and states, “ The more interactive a site, the greater the potential for privacy problems.? (46). From what I could tell, you can put just about anything on the Internet now of days for just about everyone to view. Thus, do folksonomy sites have regulations about what can and cannot be posted?

Tagged: folksonomy, week2, elizabeth, blog.

my third birthday

Here’s a picture of me at the height of my personal fashion genius. I truly believe my style has been increasingly boring since the day this picture was taken, however I am still fond of festive outfits, stripes and polka dots, hats, and bears. I've overcome my skepticism of tomatoes.

Tags/folksonomies are interesting to me as a reflection of how people understand things. If someone looked at my bookmarks on and saw a number of sites related to explosives, it would make a difference whether they were tagged “revenge? or “dissertation?. Similarly, searching Flickr with the tag “booty? could lead to pictures of very different things, depending on whether the tagger was a pirate, a rapper, or my mom (try it, if you dare). I suppose this could be the sort of situation that leads Sturtz to note that searching with tags “encourages browsing and introduces a degree of serendipity.? (Communal Catorigorization p. 4) One can never know exactly what one will find.

Tags make use of simple language. I work with English language learners at the public library, and I see them struggle with Internet searches simply because their spelling and vocabulary aren’t advanced enough to describe what they’re looking for, and forget phrase searching or Boolean operators. So it seems that tagging is another way that the web is made more accessible and democratic, allowing untrained/inexperienced people to not only create content, but also to construct ways for others to find what they’ve posted, and find other people that think in similar ways or have similar interests.

Images on the internet are a striking example of speed and reach. Gurak talks about visual reach (Cyberliteracy, p. 35), which is an idea that strikes me as being more true of Flickr or image-centered sites than ones like I can see images from New York or Iowa or Japan. Geography doesn’t matter, and is often unknowable. Language barriers virtually (!) disappear.

Hey obviously my first try didn't work.

So here is my final try.

I hope that works!

Hello everyone!

Hey I hope this works, I couldn't re-size the image, but anyway, I love taking photos! On my journey throughout Europe, I was able to see so many amazing things, and catch many of them on film. (Well not really, but close enough.) I posted this one because it was one of my first trips after I arrived. My roommates and I took a 14 hour overnight train to Split, Croatia, and it great. Truthfully I really didn't really know what Croatia was about before we arrived, but wow, the beauty is flowing everywhere in Croatia. I captured this sunset after our island tour on the mopeds we rented. It was absolutely stunning. I hpe you enjoy some of my pics, a lot are posted on the facebook already, but I will be using flickr from now on to share my photos with my family and such. Hope all is well, Peace. Eddie

Privacy Priorities

Well this is the first time that I have ever put pictures containing my face on the internet. I put the emphasis on the "I" because there are quite a few that friends of mine have put on The Facebook and well, I don't want to be that jerk that refuses to let them tag me. However I chose to deal with The Facebook by having rather restrictive privacy settings turned on. No one can see pictures others have tagged of me unless they are already my "friend". I think I tend to lean towards being rather conservative with the information I give out on the internet.

I find one of the most fascinating aspects of this whole folksonomy thing to be the simple fact that people are willing to put a lot of information about themselves out there for the world to see. There seems to be a false sense of security around sites like Myspace and as I mentioned before The Facebook. It seems as though when some people find themselves in the realm of cyberspace, they forget the world around them is there at all. It is said that the two things people fear the most are death and public speaking. I find this to be rather feasible based on what I've seen in my life. Now either millions of people suddenly stopped fearing the ladder of the two or there is some sense of security that comes from the internet. Not seeing many people grabbing soap boxes and shouting about their lives on street corners or at public lectures it looks like there is something to this folksonomy thing.

Most people will argue that the reason we feel safe on the internet is the feeling of anonymity that comes with acting behind a pseudonym. However a pseudonym can only do so much to protect us. The greatest threat to anonymity on the internet is the amount of information people are willing to give out about themselves thinking "Well it's not my information, it's the pseudonym's.". If this were true we would not have so many creeps out there stalking children of course this also means we can track down those creeps (see every cloud has a silver lining:-). The sheer number of court cases revolving around Mysapce is a clear indication that anonymity is being lost often enough to matter.

Anyway, back to me finally putting myself on the internet... I put up some pictures from a trip I took to Europe over the summer specifically from my stay in Switzerland. I saw this rock and decided I had to climb it.

I climbed.

And here's the rest of the set.

By the way, if you ever want to have the most amazing vacation ever, I suggest staying at the Mountain Hostel in Gimmelwald (no they didn't pay/encourage me to say this).

Flickr > Myspace


I took a picture of my computer area meaning to have that be the picture that I post here, because I'm always interested to see how other people like to have their computer area organized, but I think if I had to choose between knowing what someones computer area looks like or what the person looks like, I'd rather know what the person looks like. This picture is of me on Christmas morning.

My original title was going to be Flickr > Facebook, Myspace, but in all honesty I have never used Facebook. The Flickr interface is easy to use, and doesn't clutter the screen like Myspace. The use of folksonomies in a website meant for photo sharing is a good idea. I never liked Photobucket because of its organization, but the way in which Flickr allows a person to search through everyone's images by tags that they added themselves leads me to believe that I will continue to use Flickr.

I had never heard of, but after browsing through the site, I find that it is more useful than most search engines. I realize that google utilizes folksonomy, but it doesn't completely ignore keywords and use only folksonomy. Search engines, even google, are bound to give you trash results at least every now and then. on the other hand works differently than a search engine, and may be a good site to use when a search engine doesn't find what you are looking for.

Flickr Free

Key West
This picture is actually a culmination of two interesting things, and I happened to be there at the right time. While I personally do not think it looks outstanding on the Internet, in person it is by far my favorite picture. I actually earned a purple ribbon at the MN State Fair with it. It is taken at the Fort Zachary Taylor State Park on the South side of Key West. The fort itself is interesting, but there happened to be a sculpture contest the weekend we were there. I ended up taking a picture at the right spot to make it look like a very interesting picture.

While my Cyberliteracy book is in the mail, I feel like I understand folksonomy from the reading and what I know. One interesting thing that I see is in Flickr, it is simply pictures. It would be hard for me to sit on Flickr and keep clicking on tags, without reading more. I had never heard of Flickr until today, but I think Facebook is a superior to Flickr in the folksonomy, as it has information about people, and events, with pictures included, while Flickr is pictures alone. While it is great that people can share pictures and look at other peoples' pictures on Flickr, I would call it a very basic tool now that we are well into Web 2.0. Devices like Wikipedia are much more advanced to me, when you can pick up related information, and learn new things that you possibly did not know. Because only one person decides each tag, I noticed that when you click on your own tags, in my case Minnesota, because people took all their pictures in one spot, I ended up with 50 pictures from the same girl's album. So, to me it is the opposite of Wikipedia, where many people come together to make conclusions. I think that Flickr, while interesting to look at, is much easier to lead you astray from what you are finding than other, more advanced, devices. I intend to not use Flickr again after this class, both because I initially do not like it and I do not need another folksonomic addiction on the Internet.

Tag Sale


This can be found at my Flickr site:

Hello everyone!
This photo is one I took of my nephew. Though it seems like yesterday, he is now 18! He was the first grandchild on both sides of the family, so you can imagine how spoiled he could have become. However, he's a gentle giant (about 6'3") and very witty, though you have to warm up to him sometimes to find that out. I wanted a photo of the pepper from the plant I grew from seed (new for me) this winter--but it was not to be. Maybe later.

Flickr was a new discovery for me. I forage for images at Yahoo and Google from time to time to create interest in flyers and posters for work. I try to keep a backlog of interesting images, but sometimes have to search for subject matter. A subject search on Flickr for 'babies' brought up some interesting choices, many of them not babies--but that is what I am guessing the inexactness of the folksonomy Sturtz addressed.

I have to confess using the photos of other people I have harvested from the Internet has sometimes given me pause. I even asked University Relations about this matter--using Internet photos for posters. They did not seem to have a problem with it, though, which surprised me.

What I liked about Flickr was the opportunity users had to create a point of view without having to create their own blog. I sometimes worry about all the lonely blogs out there--open diaries without readers--or too many readers demanding updates. There were topical photos, such as the Devon oil spill, and the chance to add commentary. It would have been an interesting site to see when Katrina hit the deep South--both photos and commentary. I think that is the power of some of this technology, as we have been hearing lately--finding news even the news doesn't know is news. This also goes along with Gurak's point (Cyberliteracy, Chapt. 1) that the Internet creates opportunities whose "centers are everywhere, and margins are nowhere."

I also thought that Gurak's assertion that most Internet sites are U.S-centric, and if you want to go deeper, white male centric was interesting. I'm not in the habit of surfing sites in languages I don't understand, so I had no way of knowing it that was the case. I have to differ with her opinion that cable is a wasteland (I think she meant in the community service sense though). We cut our cable recently to the basic basic, and I am mourning the loss of several shows deeply--almost to the point of wearing a black armband. I think if community access production values were better, more people would watch it. It is like the Internet. You can have the most interesting IDEA for a show/website in the world, but if you have poor sound/poor visuals, bad direction/bad flow, monotone talent/uninteresting text, who will want to stay tuned? I think design is so underrated in just about everything.

That's why built-in design, like Movable Type and Flickr is so exiting for techno-plebes like me. If you simply plug in some information, you get this personal richness. People are understandably careful these days about images and identity. But there is something incredibly personal about an image you experienced (if you took the photo, you had to be there, right?) and value. I think sharing them, and being able to share them is a gift.

Live, from D.C.

Sorry this is late, I'll try to catch up fast...
While I am in Washington, D.C. for the semester, I was born and raised near a small south-central Minnesota town on a farm. While I am actually a full-time student, this is my only "real" class for the semester, which I just added last night as I realized I will have enough time after all. My only other class is my internship, which I am taking out here with the House Agriculture Committee. My life is headed that way whether I like it or not (and I do), and I thought an internship out here would compliment my Agricultural Education (non-teaching) major. While I have only been in D.C. for a couple of weeks, my only hobbies are work and Internet, until I make some friends. Back home I enjoy sports, both participating in intra-murals and being a spectator of professional or Gopher sports.
I guess living out here is interesting, as I am living literally 3 blocks from the U.S. Capitol (and walk through it's basement on my way to work).

I was the first person to have the Internet in my 5th grade class. My first year was basically checking it out and playing some games. I had a hotmail account from day one, and MSN Messenger followed soon after. I taught myself HTML in 6th grade, and made a website (a very basic website) for my church in 8th grade. I stuck with the Internet through high school, but lost interest in the programming side as I did more and more agricultural activities. One thing about HTML is that it is easy to remember once to learn it, because the language is so unlike anything and is pretty straight forward. For instance, I understand the tags that this editor makes when I want to make a link. I am addicted to Firefox, Facebook and Gmail, and now that I have a job in a House Office Building, I do not know what would happen to our country without Internet and Blackberrys. I also have a blog on Blogspot where I can communicate easily with friends and family about my daily experiences out here.

Although I use the web daily, I am not familiar with the concept of Web 2.0. I have seen the obvious changes the article talks about, but of course you cannot draw a firm line between the two concepts. The user-friendliness and amount of user-interactive websites has of course increased dramatically, but I would have to agree with Blender and the article that the biggest difference was from trying to turn a page of the Internet into a store, library, or something we already have in Web 1.0 (keeping the Internet, as software, at a standstill), and we now are using our knowledge to create a better Internet. I enjoy:
My blog, as it saves me cell phone minutes
Facebook, so I know what my friends are up to, and what they have taken crazy pictures of
Gmail, for its 3 GB of storage (more than my first computers)
Craigslist, for being eBay's free evil step-brother
and Nike+, which is a running program integrated into your shoes, to see your distance and time of running. All set to the music of your iPod.


What is your ideal MN temperature?

Below 0, ice fishing time!
0-32, let's snowmoblie!
32-50, I don't like to sweat when I run.
50-62, slightly chilled.
62-80, not too hot not to cold, just right
80-90, I'm trying to lose weight!
90+, I like MN 10 days a year!

January 24, 2007

Slightly Surprised

Harry Carry

This photo is of my friends and myself when visiting Chicago in the summer. I enjoy it mainly because of the city itself but the statue is of Harry Carry one of the great baseball broadcasters. I love playing and watching baseball so this photo really helps define who I am.

It is amazing when using Flickr how instantaneously you can connect yourself with a wide network of people. I am also surprised I was able to do this assignment with very few doubts about what I was doing. Folksonomy, as I understand it, allows users to create their own community by allowing them to decide what is important or relavent in classifications. To be able to classify and re-classify items we are can draw up our own social definitions of objects, words, or in Flickr's case, pictures.

I really enjoy the concept of allowing users to create communities based on their own preferences and ideas. As I stated previously the ability to connect with others who may identify with you is immediate and extremely beneficial. Who knows how many networking opportunities you may enevitably use with finding others with a similar interest.

My only question on the system itself is the overuse of classification of objects. If there are too many definitions for items are we decreasing the value of the current words used to define our surroundings.

My Flickr

In Chicago

This is a photo from my last New Year's Eve, in Chicago. A friend from Paris came in the US to visit me and we decided to spend a few days in Chicago. We had absolutely no plans to celebrate the new year and by chance, someone that I met randomly in the bus invited us to a party. The place was a warehouse, in the middle of nothing, and there were hundreds of people. We had the big surprise to find an almost professional music studio upstairs in that place and this photo was taken. There were also many keybords, drums, and as you can see, many guitars.

I heard of the Flickr for the first time when a friend of mine asked me if she could put a picture of me on her Flickr page. I had no idea of what she was talking about so she showed me her photos, and I spent a few hours (!) going from pictures to pictures, on different people pages. However, I never created an account after that, and I never thought about that before this assignment. The concept of uploading, tagging, classifying and sharing photos may be good, but even if a have a lot of photos, I am still very old fashioned and I like to make them printed and to look at them in a real album.

Once again, I am not certainly sure that I completely got the concept of Folksonomy, but I think I have the main ideas. I agree with many people in the sence that I like seeing Internet as a more and more democratic place, in the hands of the users, but I still have a small doubt. As Sturtz says : "classification inherently carries social, political and economic implications", and "the democratic approach of a folksonomy avoids many of the ethical and political concerns of centrally imposed systems". However, refering to Gurak (I don't find the page again, I'll put it here soon), we have to keep in mind that Internet users often belong to the same social or economic categories and that a lot of categories are not represented. In conclusion, I don't think that we can speak of a real democracy, as a lot of voices are not represented. Hum, I don't know if that was very clear...

Flickr Foto Phun!

Here's a pic of the moon on a cold, clear night.
Flicker is pretty interesting. I'm a member of a photography forum that just has different threads or catagories for animals or landscapes etc. It's fun sharing my photos with others from around the world. I received good feedback from people when I've uploaded pics.

Aside from the Folksonomy angle, I've been hesitent to use this type of site or others for photo storage. I worry that the site will change its policy or cease to exist and I will lose a wealth of pictures. This is a big question mark for people who shoot digital pics. I currently store my pics on my computer and an external hard drive. I also print out most of the ones that stand out. But a number of accidents could cause me to lose my pics forever. A friend that stores his pictures on a archive website has complained that the pics that he downloads from his site seem to have degraded noticably. What to do?

It's an interesting site. I spent a little time searching around and found a lot of great pictures. I even tried to do a search for the tag line that I used for my moon pic. I couldn't find it. There were countless pictures of the moon. It's exciting to think that I could type any word that comes to mind and see a massive amount of different pictures. A person could type in different word combinations in an effort to find what they need. They don't need to search through individual categories and hope they can find what they need. If I wanted to find a picture of a moose in the snow, I'd search for the corresponding tag words. If there is such a picture that someone took and tagged with those words, I would find it. The results of your search is heavily dependant on what people choose to tag their photos with. The possible variety seems limitless.

I might start using this site. I enjoy sharing my pictures and really enjoy seeing other people's work.

Question, how do you post your pic in your blog entry? I couldn't figure out how to do it.

Folksonomies: Classification for the People, By the People

Folksonomy is yet another cyber creation loosely defined with great depth and application purposes within our daily lives. For college students perhaps the greatest use of folksonomies accompany the obsessive routine checks of Facebook. Most information added to a Facebook profile will categorize you according to our socially created tags and/or groups.

For my blog I will be providing commentary on Communal Categorization: The Folksonomy by David Sturtz and including a picture from Flickr tagged North Dakota.

I believe Communal Categorization: The Folksonomy is a “must read three times? article in order to gain understanding and clarity to the topic of folksonomy. It is complex how the folksonomy becomes a cyclical process where we the people create our own classification, only to be converged with the classification of others, only to be broken down further to using the most useful applications. So my question becomes are the people always in control of the folksonomies they create?

If I create a folksonomy I instantly become part of a group or community. The article discusses there are social, political, and economical implications to belonging to these created folksonomies. I personally and professionally would appreciate belonging to less folksonomies to avoid being improperly classified.

While reviewing the article the following questions came to mind:
Are folksonomies really the most efficient and effective way of classifications? Was this just a community focused application created to provide people with the most resources and power? Essentially are we simply the communities we create or belong to? Will internet communities continue to flatten or will there be a need for a revised hierarchical classification system?

I found the discussion regarding the Google bomb the most interesting discussion point. I am in marketing so the fact that companies use folksonomies as a catalyst for free advertising is not only creative but holds ethical implications. My question to the class is whether you think the “Google bomb? as described under the heading Google, page 3, of the article is an ethical approach to advertising?

In conclusion I believe the folksonomy is yet another term that supports that the internet is becoming more flat. Folksonomies place us in the same communities as people world-wide crossing all barriers and being created and controlled by the people.

In the January 22, 2007 edition of Time magazine Lynn St. Amour, President and CEO of Internet Society, stated the following:
“Open standards and collaboration, rather than top-down or centralized governance, have ensured that the Internet’s development remains in the hands of those who know most what they need.? (Amour, 2007)
I believe that this article holds true that the internet will continue to use resources such as folksonomies to maintain this flatness and furthered development.

Hollywood Sign

The following picture was taken from my Flickr amberrose.mpls account.
To capture the New Year I accompanied my family to vacation in California. We took a three hour Hollywood tour where one of our stops include the Hollywood Sign. Did you know that each letter making up the sign is five stories high? It is also home to many deaths and suicides as during the 60's and 70's struggling actors and actresses used this as their mourning grounds. Today it is highly secured and looked over by the Hollywood police. If you walk on the hillside leading up to the Hollywood Sign you will be nicely escorted away by a helicopter visit.

Another interesting tid bit from Hollywood. . .
They have valet at their post office!

Flickr...Connecting Us

At Canal Park

While not being a member of Flickr, I have heard of it and have looked at friends pictures. I find it very interesting that friends are able to share their lives with people from around the world.

Anywho, this picture is from Canal Park in Duluth, Minnesota. I live in Superior, Wisconsin which is about five minutes away from Minnesota. During the winter break I returned home and we went to Duluth and experienced the common sights and sounds of Duluth. For everyone who has been up there I think that you all agree that this area is one of the most beautiful in Minnesota and for those of you who have not had the chance, I urge you to visit Duluth, stand on the hill and look out over Lake Superior. It is quite a sight to see.

I find it very interesting how public the internet has gotten. I have never heard of the term 'Folksonomy' but it makes perfect sense. We can learn everything about someone by looking through their Flickr or even Facebook photos. I've noticed that the internet does more storytelling through pictures and tags. I have had friends have party pictures up and they told the story of the whole party. This type of media has effected much of the print media who struggle to attract an audience that is willing to read instead of look at pictures.

While it is interesting to look at a person's life through photos there is always the potential for people who are looking for much more. However, with the ongoing attempts of security hopefully we will feel more secure and places like Flickr and Facebook will be more safe to visit and post.


So instead of doing my other homework for my other classes, I was so intrigued with that I spend way too much time looking at all the pictures. I used to use Webshots as a photo center, but I was frustrated too many times using it that it wasn’t worth it for me anymore. The picture is of my family when we went down to Alabama and Florida at the beginning of the fall semester to watch and celebrate my brother graduating from Flight School in Fort Rucker, AL. We then went to Panama City Beach for the rest of the week and enjoyed ourselves while in the sun. It was such a fun time because I love spending time with my family. I don’t get to do that much anymore because my brother is over in Germany preparing for Iraq and my sister just moved out to Jackson Hole to be a ski bum so we see each other very rarely so this trip was a lot of fun.

Like I sated before, this was my first time using Flickr and I loved it. It was a great way to view numerous different pictures using tags. As stated in Communal Categorization: The Folksonomy, “a folksonomy is the complete set of tags—one or two keywords—that users of a shared content management system apply to individual pieces of content in order to group or classify those pieces for retrieval? (Strutz, pg 1). Because of this new concept (new to me) it was much easier to find what I needed now and I will only benefit from tagging in the future. I feel as though these websites such as can really help people through times where a fire might destroy their home or office, or even more common there computer crashing and losing all of their photos. I, myself take way too many pictures and the thought of them destroyed makes my heart sink because you can not replace memories. However, I feel as though ANYONE would be able to look at the pictures even with the privacy setting, but it is just not this website, it is anytime that one logs onto the internet.

However, as people have already mentioned technology has really changed within the past 5 years. In my marketing class, just today we took a poll on how many people still had cameras that needed film. I was not surprised that 100% of my class had a digital camera. I feel my generation is the booming generation of the reliance on technology and I am still in the process of transferring and accommodating to my parents as well who didn’t really hop on the bandwagon for digital cameras. I still like to be able to grasp my pictures, show whomever and be able to add a few comments or stories about each picture and with online photo albums, it takes that togetherness away.

So this is Flickr

My Busch

Maybe I'm a bit ignorant of certain online things, but I had actually never heard of Flickr before this class. Okay, so it's just another photo sharing site. No big deal.

Anyway, I mentioned in my introductory post that I'm a huge Cardinals fan, so this picture ought to prove it. This is a cell phone picture I took back in August 2005, the last time I was ever at the old Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Since then, the stadium was torn down and a brand new one was built in its place. Of course, that makes this picture pretty special to me since I'll never have another opportunity to take one like it again. I have pictures of the new stadium in my Flickr account too.

I believe these "folksonomic" websites as described by Sturtz in the article are natural evolutions of organization and the technologies people have created to make that easier. Flickr may seem like a modern, high tech idea, but it's not like the concept of taking and organizing pictures is a new one. Anyone could take a bunch of pictures on film, get them developed, label them, and put them away in albums or scrapbooks according to those labels without the use of computers or internet. The difference here is the ease of the process and the degree of cyberliteracy involved. Miore and more, people are getting used to working "completely within a digital text" (Gurak, Cyberliteracy, 19), so who knows, perhaps within the next couple generations or so, people will forget about analog modes of organization and rely entirely on computers for this kind of work. Just as an observation though, even something like Flickr isn't totally independent of a human factor. As easy as it makes it to instantaneously file away and bring up pictures under specific keywords, the site isn't going to come up with those keywords for you. Unless the user tags his or her pictures with specific, descriptive words, Flickr's organizational functions are essentially useless.

Something else that Flickr offers that would be beyond traditional scrapbooking is the audience the users' pictures can reach. Unless you're a professional photographer, most likely no one beyond you and a small group of people you know personally will ever see any ordinary, nondigital pictures you take, but on a site like Flickr, pretty much anyone in the world could see them. On one hand, this is a wonderful way to anonymously share your photography with the world since no personal information is tied to those pictures, but at the same time it compromises your anonymity based on the kinds of pictures you post. This isn't just limited to Flickr. Sites like Myspace and Facebook provide places for people to share their personal information with the world, and even supposedly anonymous things like chatrooms and message boards can be used to talk about personal things. This isn't even taking into account the multitude of spyware and other things used by people to collect information about you without you knowing.

Wonderful world of flickr


This picture was my view from my hotel room in Spring Break 05 in Cancun, Mexico. I had an excellent time! I remember all but about 4 hours of the trip. Not bad for that trip. I went with about 6 of my close friends and we all enjoyed our time there. The weather was really nice everyday. It was around 85 degrees everyday which didn't make it too unbearable. I have gone to Cancun 3 times now and the funny thing is that we stayed at the same hotel, the Royal Mayan, every year and you see the same people you saw there before and you also see the same DJ's in the clubs as well and they remember you!

Flickr is something really new to me. I hadn't even heard about the site before. Tying it in to our readings really goes hand in hand. In Sturtz article, Communal Categorization: The Folksonomy, the article talks about categorizing and classification. In practical terms, Sturtz goes on to say, a folksonomy is the complete set of tags-one or two keywords-that users of a shared content management system apply to individual pieces of content in order to group or classify those pieces for retrieval, (Sturtz, 1). This is exacly true with flickr. We use tags to put a name to the pictures that we have so we, and others, can identify them and retrieve them easier.

The first chapter of the book goes on to say that, survey after survey show that Internet users are at once excited and nervous about the potentials of this new technology. The issue of online privacy illustrates this point, (Gurak, 11). The first part of this chapter talks about privacy issues that arrise from using the Net. I know that privacy issues are a major thing when surfing the Net. It's strange to think that when you surf the net, someone could be watching what sites you go to, who you chat with, or even what you buy. I think that privacy issues have gotten a lot better since the induction of the Internet. I believe that more work needs to be done from hackers and identity theft which many people become the victim of everyday.

In summary, flickr is an excellent way for family members to reach others with there pictures if they live in different parts of the world, or even in the same state. It's a good way to get people connected in there experiences together with the different pictures they have taken. Flickr, among many other sites, really have a good way to categories the pictures in a way so it's easy to locate them with the millions of pictures that are out there. Online privacy is a big issue that effects everyone using the Net.

The Internet as a Commerical Realm

This picture was taken from a show we played in Shakopee, at this teen center/venue place called The Enigma. I think this is probably the best picture I have to personify myself, because it shows me in an activity that I spend most of my time on. I love music and there's nothing better than playing shows so it’s a fitting picture.

When I think about sites like Flickr in regards to the reading for this week, I immediately take note of the fact that this website isn’t a commercially based one. Not only do they not sell anything, but there aren’t any ads anywhere on the site, which seems very rare for most of the sites that I see. However, they are still offering premium memberships for a price. Even though the website seems to escape a lot of the commerciality of the internet, it still appears anyways.

In regards to the Sturtz reading, I noticed how unique the “tagging? folksonomy is from the traditional top down method of organization. I never realized how much rhetoric there is involved in the creation of these systems. I’ve recently seen the tagging mechanism employed on a growing number of websites wihtout much of a thought, but now that I 'm a little more familiar with it, I realize it's because folksonomies are such a good system.

As for Gurak's Cyberliteracy, I was interested in the way she emphasized the need to think critically about the use of and whats available on the internet. Being an internet user for years, I don't really think too much about what kind of material is on the internet and it's effects of society. I was struck by her point that, along with cable television, in the early days of the internet people thought it would be a tool capable of immense teaching potential (as it is), but was moved in on instead by commercial interests. Although there are obviously many different types of educational sites along with any other kind of site you can imagine, the internet does definitely seem a commercial medium in most aspects. It's almost just as impossible to get away from advertisements online as it is from TV commercials or billboards. In a way, I suppose the internet is a kind of microcosm for the nation, as the country seems oftentimes driven mostly by commercial interests at the expense of others.


Kevin Bacon

I just got back from the Sundance Film Festival in Salt Lake City, Utah. I had a great time viewing independent films- as well as taking pictures of good looking actors (like Kevin Bacon). I took a screenwriting class from UCLA in 2003, and have been working on a screenplay since. I am hoping to complete it this year (2007).

This was my first time using Flickr. I found it easy to use. Usually I use IPhoto on my MAC, but it's nice to have a 'library' online as well. While I would prefer to physically show off my photo albums, life gets busy and it's more convenient to view photos online.

It appears that the existing folksonomies connect online users on a whole new level.
"the social aspects and implications of these community-created systems are also of great significance and deserve exploration." (Sturtz, Communal Categorization:The Folksonomy, p. 8).
I welcome this type of online intimacy and community.

However, Gurak warns us, "The community and intimacy that the internet inspires can create an erroneous trust in any new virtual friends we may have made" (Gurak, Cyberliteracy, p. 39).
I have always understood that my anonymity and vulnerability is at risk every time I log on to the internet. After so many news stories of identity theft, online predators, and endless hacking, one would assume that online users are also aware of the dangers of the internet.

I believe The Folksonomies and Web 2.0 are proof that there is a new confidence in online users. Not only are we able to learn upgraded applications, we are also open to the
recent “democratic approach? that “avoids many of the ethical and political concerns of top-down, centrally imposed systems.? (Sturtz, Communal Categorization:The Folksonomy, p. 4). We are becoming a collective online society.

Taking a minute to enjoy life!

In a resturant in Costa Rica

This photo is one of my darling pictures from my recent trip to Costa Rica. This past winter break I had to opportunity to travel to Costa Rica for one of my classes this spring. As a class of eight we traveled the entire country in fourteen days. There was the chance to see many agricultural operations, climb a volcano, experience coffee and chocolate production, and walk through several rainforests. I am very proud to say that I love and enjoy traveling. It is an awesome feeling to be able to experience and endeavor new adventures. This was just one of the many several views of the beautiful landscapes within the country.

For me, Flickr is a very neat creative invention. I never knew about it before this assignment. I love the fact that you can do so much with your digital photos for free. From my discovery with this website I love the fact that it allows members to hold, share, and provide information about their personalized collection of photographs. I find this very useful because it will help to eliminate having to constantly store all of my digital pictures on my computer. This will help in reminding me to always have a backup system for my collection if my computer were to die. I will definitely use this feature in the future to share and store digital pictures that I have taken on my adventures around the world.

After working with Flickr and reading the textbook I found many similarities. I like that fact that both have there own worlds but you, the operator, has to take a hold and figure out what you specifically want to do. Just as it stated in the book, “what takes place on a Web page for teenage girls will not be the same as what takes place on an email list for professors? (Gurak, Cyberliteracy, p 29). In being an average user on the internet this quote fits ideally for everyone experiencing a new advancement in technology.

Finally, these chapters developed a new sense within me. It has helped me to realize the correct sense of speed, reach, anonymity, and interactivity. Especially the part Gurak mentioned about the pace of speed within our lives. In closing, I feel that we live in a society where speed is such a priority that we forget about all the little factors that affect our lives on a daily basis.

January 23, 2007

Exploring Flickr


I’ll always remember my trip to Laos/Thailand. We visited villages that were five- six hours up the mountains and there, you will encounter a whole new world. Children are running around in dirt roads, homes are made out of hay and all the men and women are out in the fields. This picture particularly makes me happy. We brought toys and clothes to everyone and this picture showed a sense of joy to the children, whom I learned to love during my two week stay in the mountains.

I have recently heard of Flickr but honestly, I had no idea what was offered through the program. I imagined pictures and something similar to photobucket. I found it to be quite interesting because it offers a lot more features and it is very simple. I found my way around quite easily and I think I will definitely use it more for storing pictures and sorting them out. Flickr cites folksonomies which is “tags—one or two keywords—that users of a shared content management system apply to individual pieces of content in order to group or classify those pieces for retrieval.“ (Sturtz, Communal Categorization: The Folksonomy, p. 2) I think this is a wonderful way of organizing and also gives you an idea of how folksonomies plays a role for other search engines such as google.

Most of my pictures are stored in files on my computer but incase of a computer breakdown, I’ve considered transferring my pictures online which may also be easier and the use of tags would be useful in searching for particular pictures. Flickr definitely is a way where one can communicate through images because they are “capable of recognizing and engaging substantive issues along with the ways that minds, sensibilities, and emotions are constructed by and within communities whose members communicate through specific technologies.? (Gurak, Cyberliteracy, P. 9)

Programmer, Snowboarder

Apologies for the late entry, I too had a few technical difficulties. My name is Zach Snow, and I am a senior computer science major. I will be graduating at the end of this semester, and hopefully attending graduate school next fall. I also work on two different projects in the department. One of these projects, called Sharescape, seems to be related to this class. The project aims at creating an online community centered on tagging locations (depicted on a Google map) with useful information. I am also an avid snowboarder, and I like to build things out of wood (though I wouldn’t claim to be a carpenter). I also always put periods at the end of sentences, regardless of quotation marks or parentheses, because it seems more logical.

I can’t remember exactly when I got my first computer, but I remember it was an IBM 486, running Windows for Workgroups 3.11. However, I spent most of my time on the machine playing with the QBASIC interpreted it had. I also played a few games, and even tried my hand at writing one or two.

I first connected to the internet using Prodigy with a 9600 baud modem, however it was a very solitary experience: I didn’t enjoy chatting with strangers, and I had no friends with internet connections.

Most of my opinions on “the web? and Web 2.0 have been form in a vacuum, with very little discussion with others. Therefore I am excited to gain new perspectives on the efficacy of Web 2.0. I certainly agree that interactive websites have certainly become major players in our culture. And I agree that that Web 2.0 has “generally transformed user experiences online?, though I am unsure whether this has been a good thing. Oftentimes it seems that certain Web 2.0 technologies and tools are overused, with website designers adding interactive technologies when the site is really only intended to be informational. In my opinion this often detracts from the information quality and ease of access.

And for the survey:

Programming Languages

Which of the following programming languages have you exposure to?

Basic or variants
I have had no exposure to programming languages

Flickr and the reading

This is a picture of me and a couple friends of mine on top of a mountain in the smokey mountains in Tennessee. We went on a backpacking trip there immediately after finals spring semester of '06. I am standing in the middle with the white hat on because it was quite cold up there. The link is to the rest of my pictures.

To be honest I had heard of Flickr before this assignment but had no idea of it's capabilities. I had seen it on a few of my friend's livejournals and hadn't thought much of it a the time. After looking into it further, I can see the immense possibilities of it (also the immense amount of time spent on it). I really thought that the features such as tagging or the map feature were highly intriguing. To be able to see where people are from and see their pictures where taken just sounds revolutionary.

After looking over the Flickr website and thinking about my own personal experience with it, I found many issues that the book brought up within the website. In regards to my personal experience, "we really need to understand not just how to use the techonology but how to live with it, participate in it, and take control of it." (Gurak, Cyberliteracy, p. 11). What could be a better example of this than Flickr. A website that's sole existence is based upon people contributing to it as a whole.

The book states that the functional units of internet communication are, "speed, reach, anonymity, and interactivity" (Gurak, Cyberliteracy, p 29). It would be quite obvious that all of these terms would be tied to Flickr and I think that someone has already used this quote but I wanted to speak about it further. The largest issue I can see regarding Flickr is that it cuts away at peoples anonymity with the photo tagging system, the maps, and just the site as a whole. While there are many ways to prevent photos being viewed by others and other various security systems I don't see many people bothering with them (case in point, me). At the same time I'm sure it can lead to new levels of anonymity with misleading or misrepresented photos. "The community and intimacy that the internet inspires can create an erroneous trust in any new virtual friends we may have made" (Gurak, Cyberliteracy, p. 39). Enough about the negatives I still do have a positive opinion that this website and it's features.

As a sidenote I enjoyed the comment on page 19 regarding the fact that interactiveness of Jesse Ventura's may have played a crucial role in helping elect him. Gotta love tying class concepts in with Minnesota trivia.

Finally, I'm in!!!

Hello everyone. Sorry this is a bit late, but I had some technical difficulties entering into the course website. My name is Erin Milbrath and I am a senior in the Human Resource Development undergraduate program. I currently work full time as a Human Resources Coordinator at Opus Corporation in Minnetonka, MN. Opus is a full service real estate and construction company. One of their finished projects includes the Best Buy Headquarters in Edina, MN. As a Human Resources Coordinator I assist the various departments within the HR Department. Currently I’m working on many compensation and benefits projects, but am soon going to be transitioning into the training and development department helping design and implement various training programs for our organization. In my spare time I enjoy traveling, hanging out with friends, and of course playing with my new puppy Lola, who is a puggle. Puppies are A LOT of work but are great company to have.

My first computing experience was probably back when I was in elementary school, which was over 10 years ago. I remember playing various educational and learning games such as Word Munchers and Number Munchers and fun leisure games such as Oregon Trail and the Lemonade Stand game. My parents first purchased a computer for my sister and me when I was in the 4th grade. It was a Macintosh because my Uncle was and is a Mac/Apple fanatic and influenced my parents to purchase a Mac verse a PC. I was probably one of the last people to get the Internet out of all of my friends. My friends and I would spend hours at each other’s houses on American Online and chatting in various chat rooms. It took probably years to influence my parents in purchasing the Internet, but they finally did and we haven’t been living without it since. I must say that I was very fascinated with the possibilities the Internet let individuals do as far as: purchasing items, communicating with family/friends/strangers around the world, and the amount of resources on just about any topic you can think of.

After reading the article on Web 2.0 it made me reflect on how the Internet has really changed over the years. Web 2.0 I feel is more interactive and not so much informative. People are able to create and post just about anything. For example the Facebook and MySpace are two huge interactive programs that have become extremely popular within the past few years. For me, these two programs have become a thing I check almost 2-3 times a day. Thus Web 2.0 definitely plays an influence on people’s everyday lives, and I would even go to say that it has influenced our culture. It will be very interesting to see what the next 5-6 years will bring as far as improvements and advancements to the Internet.

Which reality show is your favorite?

I Love New York
Real World
Amazing Race
None of the Above

January 22, 2007

where the magic happens

Study, from northwest corner by bookcases

This my study at home, where I do most of the teaching for this class. If you click the image, it’ll take you to my flickr account, where you’ll see that I’'ve used the ‘notes’ function to add a lot of information to the photo. It’s also part of a larger set that I made for a colleague who is doing research on the ways people set up and use their personal workspaces. (If you’re interested in participating, click here.) I also use flickr sets to teach how-to presentations and direction writing in my technical communication courses. Here’s one in progress on how to make guacamole. These are just a few of the things you can do with flickr.

Dale made a very good point about flickr and intellectual property. Applications like this one do make it easier to steal other people’s photographs, and that’s a very legitimate concern. However, there’s also a sizable community that uses flickr because they believe in contributing photos to a central image pool. This is why flickr allows you to choose copyright licenses for your photos. The default setting gives you full copyright protection, and they have procedures in place to report copyright violations. (As Dale points out, this isn’t an effective deterrent for everyone.) If you’re an open access / intellectual commons advocate, you can also choose a Creative Commons license to make it clear that it’s OK for people to use your photos as long as they don’t make any money, as long as they give you attribution, or a number of other constraints. We’ll be talking about this in detail later in the course, but I wanted to point this out now since the subject came up.

[BTW, you shouldn’t be using this post as a model for yours. Yours should be primarily about the reading. Dale’s and Julia’s are both good examples.]

Folksonomy - Flickr


This is one of my favorite pictures. It is the dock in Seward Alaska. This summer we took a family vacation and went halibut fishing in Seward. Even though it was mid-June, the weather was misty and very cold - lots of long underwear. After reaching our fishing destination (2 ½ hours out to sea) on a small boat, we were able to fish. That is, those who weren’t too sick could fish. I am proud to say that I was the only one in my family who was able to cast a rod (and I don’t fish). Yes, I did catch a halibut (albeit a small one)! As my teenagers said, we paid a lot of money to get sick. Aahhh but the memories are priceless! When I use this image as a screen saver, it always puts a smile on my face. Too bad I didn't have the camera with me on the boat....

I haven’t heard of Flickr or before this assignment but what an incredibly easy way to circulate photos! The process was entirely simple although I opted for cutting & pasting the code. The folksonomy concept really ties in with Laura Gurak’s discussion on the Internet and it’s uses & understandability by the users. It’s not just understanding how the tool (software) works, but what are the users doing with it, is it being used, and will it require upgrades? Being a light Internet user, I’ve used Google in the past to find images for reports and projects. If I had known about Flickr, my options for digital photos would have increased. This would have been a benefit if the images were tagged with common captions though. For example, I was looking for a photo of an Amaranthus flower. The tag of flower would not have worked for me (too time consuming).

I believe tools such as Flickr are new opportunities for new users to gain confidence and experience on the net. Most people I know that spend time on their computers do so for photo projects. A majority of them do not use computers heavily at work either. I think the internet is a great resource for storage. The choice for public and personal are there. As with everything, discretion and common sense must be used as well.

As Sturtz remarks, “the social aspects and implications of these community-created systems are also of great significance and deserve exploration.? Communication is truly fast and has reachability as Gurak states. We can impact the world faster than ever before. Family and friends are informed immediately of events.

January 21, 2007

categories and RSS

You all did a great job last week. I'll be posting grades over the next few days, so keep an eye on the WebCT grade book. Also, ere several things I wanted to mention that may make your life a little easier as we go along:

1. Please make sure you select a category when you write your post. (The “category” pull down list is at the upper right of the entry screen.) This will keep everything neatly filed for us, for outside readers, and for grading purposes. There was only a little bit that needed to be categorized from last week, and I’ve taken care of that already. Just remember in the future.

2. I will be writing a number of instructional posts like this one over the course of the semester. Since blogs always post the newest entries on top, things scroll down pretty quickly — especially in a class of 35 people! So you’ll need to make sure that you read the necessary posts. You should be reading your classmates’s entries as well, because this class is heavily discussion-based.

There are several ways to do this. You could just keep scrolling back through the archives. You could click on the category of the week or the General Business category and read down through everything that way. Or you could set up an RSS feed. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and it makes blog-reading more efficient by collecting all the posts in one place and stripping out the surrounding graphics. It will also help you keep your place in your reading of this blog, because the folder empties out each time you read it. When you come back to it again, everything there will be the newest stuff. If you read more than a couple of blogs or want to keep up with newsfeeds, movie and show listings, weather, or podcasts, RSS can really make things more efficient for you.

There are a number of different free RSS readers out there. The one I use is Bloglines. It’s free and very intuitive, which is important for someone like me who doesn’t want to spend a lot of time setting something up. If you’re a Mac user, you might use the RSS function that is built-in on Safari. There are a number of others out there as well. Just google and you’ll find plenty.

I’m also going to add some technology blogs to our sidebar. Feel free to check them out. Also, if you know of a blog that should be on the list and isn’t, leave a comment on this entry and I’ll add it.

My Friend Flickr?

Minnie on the steps

This is a picture of my favorite cat and his name is Minnie. We got Minnie as a kitten from a friend of my wife’s that worked with her at the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) in Rochester, MN. That's how he came about his name. Minnie’s breed is Maine Coon Cat.

Flickr is an interesting folksonomic web site in that Flickr allows people to store, categorize (tag), and share their digital photographs with friends, family, and the entire world (Sturtz, Communal Categorization: The Folksonomy , p. 2). I had never visited or heard of Flickr until this assignment. Flickr is one of those web sites that screams out for ones understanding of cyberliteracy. “Cyberliteracy means voicing an opinion about what these technologies should become and being an active, not passive, participant? (Gurak, cyberliteracy, p. 27).

I have thought myself cyberliterate, however, most of my thought has centered on Internet security concerns and it is easy for me to see how a site like Flickr makes the theft of intellectual property so easy. Someone may post a killer photograph on Flickr and with great speed and reach grant anyone in the world access to it. The owner may not think much of a photograph's commercial value, however, someone else my see great commercial value in a photograph and use it for personal gain without the owner ever knowing about it. Sure, Flickr has Community Guidelines and a Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy. I don’t think those policies will keep people that want to steal someone else’s intellectual property at bay. I posted my photographs to Flickr as private and available to friends only.

Our reading about speed, reach, anonymity, and interactivity gave me cause to think about the lack of gatekeeping (Gurak, p. 35) and the lack of automated protection of intellectual property on folksonomic web sites like Flickr. Making me wonder, is Flickr really my friend?

January 20, 2007

about the comments

Since some of you asked: you don’t need to worry about approving comments here. I’ll take care of it. I’ve also turned off email notifications, so you shouldn’t be receiving any more of them from here out.

January 19, 2007

Some folks still write on paper...

Hi everyone. If the lateness of this post could be any more telling about my internet habits I'd be set. My name is Andrew Ranallo and I'm a senior at the U majoring in English and American Indian Studies (mainly in the study and revitalization program for the Ojibwe Language).
I definately have a long history with computers and the internet but interestingly my understanding of some of the new concepts plateaued along with my interest in the new features of technology. I remember the black floppys with pen written titles, and putting them in my apple gave me nothing but some kind of prompt. When I was a young roustabout I would work at it until I got those games to work. Usually they were the kind where you say things like "Go East" and then it would respond with "You see a hermit with a cat." and you would say "Take Cat." and it would say "You cannot take Cat." and that's when I would usually shut it off.
Then my Mom, a few years later got an ISP called WOW and we'd collect URLs in an envelope becasue we looked at them like strange codes that would only work if entered perfectly. This was before Google even entered the webosphere. So I'd clip URL's from magazines and I distinctly remember how slowly but surely I started to see more and more of them, and began to realize that many variables could go between "www." and ".com" and my big envelope of URLs was kind of pointless.
Moving on, to me Web 2.0 does seem like a simple buzzword made to alienate those without high-speed internet and perhaps boost internet investments and capital. Perhaps define the digital divide a little more clearly. "What, you don't have DSL? Whaaaat? You don't use wikipedia?" I don't mean to sound sure, because, as much as it seems this way to me, when a term is applied, and then used by the general population with a definite (albeit broad) definition in mind, how can it'svalidity or existence be questioned? I think vast improvements have come across the electronic world we spend so much of our waking time in though along with everything that makes our time easier and more secure comes something like this that makes me question the goal of advancing technologies, and more importantly, the real outcome, intended or not.

 Oregon Trail Memories  

As I saw Oregon Trail mentioned in many other posts, I thought this would be fitting. What was your favorite default character name in Oregon Trail?

Zeke (my favorite)

Current Results

Here is my post

Hello my name is Nick Johnson and I am turning this in really close to the deadline as you can well see. Story of my life. A little bit about me: I am a full time student hopefully graduating this spring with a degree in Economics. I enjoy camping, canoeing, rock climbing, movies, music, concerts, and much more.

I came along on the internet during approximately the 8th grade in which the internet at the time was quite developed. Most people at the time already had internet and aol instant messenger and the like. All of my friends had email accounts as well. I was using a computer with windows 98 if I remember correctly and it had an earlier version of internet explorer.

Web 2.0 to me (after reading this article, previous knowledge, and other websites) seems to be a general interactive experience whereas the original form of the internet was more single sided. In the original internet a site would be created by some entity and you would read/view its contents and that’s all that would come from it. Web 2.0 is more of an interactive experience such as noted by the person who coined the term Tim O’Reilly. His original thoughts on it were for it to be a sort of conferencing device. It has since evolved into a million different ways of interaction such as Wikipedia (my favorite site), various social networking sites such as facebook or myspace, and much more. It is my opinion that web 2.0 is accomplishing what the internet originally was set out to create in a more interconnected world.

On a side note I think it is a fantastic thing as I find it a very similar concept to open-source software which I have ALWAYS been a huge proponent.

And here is my survey, hopefully it works

My Survey

Who is the best actor portraying someone in the mafia?

Robert Deniro
Danny Devito
Al Pacino
Christopher Walken
Ray Liotta
Paul Sorvino
Johnny Depp

Squeezed in before the deadline...

I had this all typed up, and then went back a page and erased it all. Anyways, hi, my name is Matt Erickson, and I am a sophomore and art history major here at the U. This is not my first time blogging, although in previous blogging experiances I haven't had the need to punctuate properly (i used to blog using all lowercase, and only using commas and periods).

My first experiance with a computer was with the internet. In 1991 I played a game on a Packard Bell (I don't know the specs) which I learned tonight was called MadMaze, here is a link to a recreation of the game: MadMaze was a game run using prodigy, and playing this game is one of my earliest memories. Since then I've played many other games over the internet, such as Diablo, Starcraft, Day of Defeat, World of Warcraft, CS: Source.

The Internet has seemed to have gotten more simple to use in the past few years (four of five?), but I never would have thought to label what the internet has become as Web 2.0. If Web 2.0 means that the internet is getting more and more simple, or user friendly, then I see it as a good thing. I use the internet for a variety of things. I read most of the news online; if anyone is looking for an interesting website for news I would suggest Some other websties that I use are,,,, and many others.

Internet Gaming

What do you think of internet gaming?

I don't game, it's a waste of time.
I don't game, but I wish I had time.
I game but not over the internet.
Internet gaming all the way!

Internet: Thanks for everything.

Howdy, everyone. My name is Paul Treiber, and I am an internet junkie. I'm in my fourth year of college and second at the U of M. I used to be a Computer Science major, but after a year in the major, I found that I liked language better. Currently, I'm a full-time student majoring in Asian Languages and Literature (Japanese Subplan). I hope to teach English in Japan, China, and Korea after graduating. After soaking in as much language and culture as I can from those three countries, I would like to become an interpreter. I enjoy all kinds of music, but my favorite is classical--especially Bach (I know, technically, he's baroque), Beethoven, Chopin, and Rachmaninov. I love to play piano, but I'm a little out of practice since coming to college. I also love to read nonfiction, biographies, online comics, history, and classic novels. I love camping, but I haven't really been out of the city in the last year. I have actually worked for an online university for the last four years, so I'm very curious to finally participate in an online course.

I miss command-line interface (I was so used to DOS 6.0) and BBSes. I began keeping a journal at the age of 5 on my parents' first computer, which had a chip that ran at about...20 MHz, if I remember correctly. It also had two 5-inch floppy drives and a green monochrome monitor. In 1992, we got a computer with a 386 chip (a whooping 33 MHz!), 3.5 inch floppy drive, and a color monitor. I remember playing Wolfenstein 3D, Gorillas, and Snakes (the last two are games in BASIC! Woo!). I enjoyed creating macros in DOS, writing short stories, and making short songs using the beep function in DOS (I got carried away once and wrote out Für Elise...) Our uncle upgraded his modem in '92 or '93 and sent us his old 2400 baud modem--8 times better than our 300 baud one! My family went to the library often when I was very young, and my dad always picked up the newest issue of Computer User. In the back, there were listings for local BBSes, and many of them had simple games. At the age of 8, I began to play "door games" such as Exitilus, Legend of the Red Dragon (LORD), Planets, Trade Wars, The Pit, and many more on these BBSes. They had daily limits on your actions, such as being able to search for monsters to fight only 30 times, and this limit was reset every day at midnight. I got so involved in these games that, for a while, I would set the alarm on my watch for midnight and go play whichever game was my favorite at the time until I ran out of turns. Around the same time, we found out that we could make library reservations by dialing into the library BBS. We could also surf the limited web through it, but only by using text commands (awesome!). Even though I was only 9 or so by that point, and it was text-only, I was completely captivated. Little did I imagine the possibilities that have been realized in today's internet.

O'Reilly's comparison of the ongoing development of the internet to the formation of synapses in the brain makes so much sense. I thought it was a great metaphor for one of the central ideas of Web 2.0: users are ultimately going to improve the internet through their sheer numbers. Through email/text/blog/comment, they not only help draw more people to interesting and useful sites, but they also help improve content and services for all users. This is what amazes me most about Web 2.0: continual improvement in which any user can participate! Although there are plenty of users who do not make positive contributions (I stay far, far away from most discussion boards), sites like Wikipedia, eBay, and Google have expanded the possibilties for user involvement in a profound way. I see it as a great chance for people to participate in democratic action, because even one person can have a tangible effect on those services. Web 1.0 was machine-based, and thus was limited by the collective imagination and intelligence of its designers. Web 2.0 is user-based and does not have that limitation (not that it does not have any). I regularly use Wikipedia, Google, Amazon, CNet, and Pandora.

 2 vs. 10  

Which definition of gigabyte do you use?

2^30 bytes--and I hate the new definition.
2^30 bytes--but I'm not complaining.
1 billion bytes--why not?
1 billion bytes--but I'm not happy about it.'s not important to me.

Current Results

I'm not a noob....

I’m slow on the draw, but I’ve finally gotten around to my fabulous introductory blog post. This is not my first time blogging, so I can’t really use that as an excuse for my late posting, so I hope that you will forgive me. I am a senior in Scientific and Technical Communication, set to graduate in May with my BS. (I won’t even tell you how many jokes my dad has made about the fact that I’m getting a ‘BS’ from the Rhetoric department.) I just returned from a semester in Sydney, Australia, so if I insert a few “crikeys!? and “g’days? into my posts, you will just have to go along with it. Let’s see…for fun…I like to bake all sorts of sweets, go to concerts, snowboard and read any book that may strike my interest. I hope this gives you a little more insight into who I am as a person. Now I will give you a little more background on my ‘net history’.

I started using the internet in 4th grade for ‘research’ projects. This was back in 1994 when the internet was a scary and dangerous place for us little 4th graders to be wandering around unsupervised. Prior to that, most of my computing experience was word processing on an ancient IBM that I recall using DOS commands on. After my intro to the internet via research in the library, my real ‘use’ began in middle school when I got my first hotmail account and eventually AIM. (My typing teachers that I had from 4th-7th grade would be very upset to hear this, but it wasn’t until instant messaging that my typing vastly improved. The best part about this is that I’m seeing the same thing with my little brothers who are in 4th and 7th grade.)

I’m still a bit foggy on this whole concept of “Web 2.0?, but I think that if I look at how my experiences with the internet have changed over the years, I can say that it has definitely made a difference in the way that I utilize the internet. Before I came to college, the internet was a novelty, now it seems a necessity. I check the weather, news, my email, pay my bills, buy things and entertain myself with the internet. I have a personalized Google page, I use torrent sites, Wikipedia, am Facebook obsessed and rarely go to the library thanks to Google scholar and the online journal archives that the U of M subscribes to.

I am really looking forward to this course and getting to know all of you through your blogs. In the meantime, I’m going to test your political savvy in terms of the great country of Australia. Cheers!

Australian Politics

Who is the prime minister of Australia?

Edmund Barton
Don Bradman
John Howard
Neville Bonner

Survey Fix

Okay I'm trying my survey again. Apparently I didn't get all of the code.

Food Survey

What is your favorite type of cuisine?

Fast Food

You are now entering the blogosphere

Hello everyone, nice to meet you. My name is Travis Carr, I’m a third year student, full time, from Blaine, Minnesota (a suburb about 20 minutes north of campus)I’m majoring in English but a bigger passion of mine is music, which I’m completely in love with. I play drums in a band named daybreak. We played at the Whole in Coffman a year or two ago with band we’re good friends with; to my knowledge it was close to selling out and the biggest show they had had there, but I didn’t get that first hand so I’m not positive.

I remember my family got our first computer as a family gift one Christmas, and I was on it a fair amount. I don’t remember what service we used to connect to the internet, but I distinctly remember the (now depressing) fact that the only website I visited when we first got access to the internet was, simply because a friend showed it to me and I didn’t know what else to do online. I suppose in the development of the net I would consider myself as coming along sometime during the tail end of the dot-com bubble. My family was never really on the forefront of technology.

Although I get confused in some of the specifics of what qualifies as Web 2.0 and what doesn’t, I think it has greatly changed user experiences online. I definitely feel when I look at sites online that things seem a little more personalized and focused on the user. When Napster just became popular I was using it all the time; it opened a lot of doors for me to hear bands that I just wouldn’t be able to hear on the radio. Someone (I’m having trouble finding the entry again) said before me that Web 2.0 seemed like a logical next step for the internet, and I agree. I’m sure it won’t be long until we see another new generation of web applications as technology continues to evolve and entrepreneurs continue to create them.

At any rate, I apologize if my blog is coming in late. I look forward to working with all of you this semester!

 How is your Spring '07 session?  

How do your classes this semester compare with last semester?

Much Better
About the Same
Much Worse

Current Results

In with the new...

Hello all! Sorry that this is last minute, but boy o boy I have never blogged before. It took a while for me to find everything. I guess I’m not as good with computers as I thought I was. My name is Kelly Colbert and I am a third year at the University. I am studying Applied Economics and Marketing and finding that I really enjoy my classes. I hope to and plan on graduating in the spring of 2008 and heading out of the cold. I plan on moving to Colorado or Arizona where the sun shines a little bit more. I do enjoy the summers up in Minnesota but having nice weather year round would be wonderful. I just don’t really like walking to class with 8 layers on… I guess I am in the wrong state! I also love listening to music. I have to have it on at all times when I do anything! So if you know of any good bands or anything of the sort, let me know!

My first memory of computers was when I was slightly younger and in the first grade. We would have computer class each week and learn how to type on computers using Number Munchers and Mavis Beaken Teaches Typing. It was so amazing to me that I could press a button and it would show up on the screen. It was a huge step up from the typewriter that my family had at home. I guess I had a great experience with the computers at such a young age because I find myself constantly on my computer checking e-mails on an hourly basis and signed in to the AIM program all day every day. During middle school my friends and I would rush home from school and chat for hours on-line with our friends that we saw all day long at school. It was to the point that my mom had given me a time limit to be on the computer and would always tell me that the times are changing with the technology era.

I find myself being awestruck with our generation and the use of technology today. Everything that you could imagine is on the web and everything that is being advertised always has a .com address as well. I think many times of the progression of the internet that I have personally used; new updates for programs almost on a weekly basis and new and more efficient websites that help immensely for finding the information that I need. Also the speed of the modems that my family has gone through over the years is quite humorous when I look back. There would be days that I would click on a page to load, go make myself lunch and come back to the computer and the page still would not have loaded. As the article talked about, in just a few years modems will be a word of the past and everyone is going to have WiFi. Minneapolis in just a few years is going to have wireless for the whole city which is really going to change the way that people interact. Sitting out at Calhoun in the summer, everyone will be on their computer instead of the numerous activities that usually take place.

Web 2.0 really boggles my mind in more ways than just one. The amount of technology at our hands everyday who knows what my kids are going to be making fun of me the way that I sometimes tease my parents about the technology that they had growing up. Being able to create websites and having anything at your fingertips is quite amazing when you realize that the Web is not tangible. I am an avid user of on line shopping almost to the point that if they do not have it posted on their site many times I do not go to that particular store to purchase the item. I have also dedicated many hours to Ebay and Amazon browsing what’s new and personalized my own web pages through Facebook at Myspace; a whole new way to stay in touch with friends. The new technology that is coming out in an incredibly fast pace is exciting and yet a bit scary in that the world is becoming so dependent on the use of the web. Just a few decades ago, no one would have ever dreamed of taking a class on line. It would have been crazy talk. Web 2.0 is the new thing for now… but in the age of technology it seems like the new become the old very quickly.

 YouTube Craze  

Are you being sucked into the YouTube craze?

What is YouTube??

Current Results

January 18, 2007

Does the Internet have a birthday

Does the Internet have a birthday?

The term internet is diverse. It is diverse among origin, definition, and application. Is defining the origin of the internet necessary or is it just an opportunity for individual’s or company’s claim to fame in the soon to be historical textbooks? I believe our pursuit to completely understand the internet reaches beyond textbook definitions and will leave us students and experts in suspense throughout this technological revolution. It is for this reason that I strongly proclaim there may be no existence of a birthday for the internet. Poor internet.

Perhaps the internet is nothing but a global network, with tools such as computers created to be a catalyst of human communications. Therefore in theory, maybe the internet is so abstract that it has no origin, nor any clear definition, and has been forever in existence.

Ian Peter states the following regarding email, “It was never invented; it evolved from very simple beginnings.? Yet later in the article it states that Ray Tomlinson was credited for inventing email in 1972. Perhaps this discrepancy of writings stems from a clear definition of what email is, the simple @ that was created for computers to communicate with one-another. My point is that perhaps there will not be a clear origin of the internet because even defining such a thing is too complex.

Through the frenzy, from Web1.0 to Web 2.0, and from Netscape to Google, the internet is ongoing and ever-changing. There never seems to be clear definitions or understandings but rather radical hype and on-going, ever changing applications. Web 2.0 to be has been transformational as it has allowed for the everyday users to create their own uses for internet. We no longer must subscribe to a system or software only to be confined to specific applications, paying high-prices to be part of this internet evolution. Through the ever changing need and creativity of the online users, Web 2.0 applications allow for the simplicity and expansion needed to maintain the interest and need of the user.

My experience with computers and the internet can be summed up similar to the history of the internet outlined by Ian Peter in his online writing, “History of the Internet.? Began as a concept and quickly moved into application through the use of computers, through the era, and into Web 2.0 and future applications. I began with personal thoughts that computers and internet technology was that of the government and not for everyday users. I never dreamed that a computer or the internet would be part of my daily life.

I was introduced to a computer through a friend at approximately the age of 8. Because her parents were teachers they encouraged us to put hours of play into the floppy disk game Grover Math. Before long I was in junior high, my family with our very own computer, and surfing the World Wide Web through Netscape. It began as a fascination with online chatting, and soon led to an academic resource. Soon libraries became ancient research facilities and the internet with it’s sites directed me to choosing a specific college to attend.

Throughout college the internet has become my favorite communication tool. It allowed me to do research papers, while sipping tea at the local coffee hotspot, and allowing my friends to send me online messages while I was too busy to attend local house parties. Today the internet accompanied with Web 2.0 applications serves as a catalyst to school and business applications. I am able to research job possibilities through the websites of local and global organizations. I am also able to gain work experience while being a fulltime student through online course work at the University of Minnesota.

Now to all my fellow bloggers. Sorry to put all my thoughts of the reading at the beginning but that is the most critical to my grade so I saved my personal introduction to the end.

My name is Amber Rose. I am a senior here at the U of M and look forward to finding a job that is accessible world wide. I believe the tool that will accompany this goal is the internet and thus I am taking this course. I am also taking this course as it will challenge my frustrations with the complexity of the internet and its’ applications. Please be patient with these frustrations through my blogs. (only kidding!) The best of luck to all of us!

Does the Internet have a birthday?

What theory of Ian Peter's do you believe most clearly describes the invention of the internet?

Theory One- Packet Switching
Theory Two- TCP/IP
Theory Three- Telco Origins
Theory Four- Applications layer-led
Theory Five- Ethernet & Xerox Palo Alto

Hello class, sorry I'm late.

Hello everyone, from positively 4th Street, S.E.
Yes, this is my first time as a blogger, and yes, it did take me over a few days to figure it out, but now all is well. Anyway, my name is Eddie Olson, I am currently a junior, majoring in S&TC. So far it has been a great year. About a week ago I came back to the USA after spending six months living and studying in Vienna, Austria. As well as traveling around Europe, it was great! I am currently trying to get back into the USA life style, finishing moving in to my new place, getting back into school mode, and finding a job. Life is great.

I recall in elementary school playing the game Oregon Trail, that is my first memory of consistently using a computer. But besides playing games, I got to know computers during the early years of my schooling with typing classes and such. I believe my family got a computer when I was in 8th grade; that was the time when AOL was the thing to do. Looking back, thanks to my time on AOL chatting with my online buddies, I learned how to really type quickly. Sure the internet was very slow, but it was all we knew. Today I rarely if ever use an instant messaging system, but instead I will occasionally log onto the facebook.. yes I admit it.

I have experienced the transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. at my fingertips. And though I consider “web 2.0? just to be another name for the “more advanced/evolved web we already knew,? I must say I like it. It is more user friendly and much more efficient regarding usability. With so much stuff on the web today, it is just fun to imagine what the “web 3.0? will be like.

For free streaming movies, tv shows or what not, check out these sites:,, or search them at


Blu-ray Nay or Yay?

Will the Blu-ray take over the HD DVD/DVD market?


My First Time Blogging

Hi everyone my name is Dawn Luhmann. I am a full time student majoring in Agricultural Industries and Marketing. This is my final semester at the University because I am graduating after four wonderful years. Besides school, I work two part time jobs on campus one in research and as a library assistant. Other then school and working I love spending time with my family and friends. My family is my number one priority. I also enjoy traveling both in the states as well as abroad. I have been to Holland as well as just returning this last Monday from two weeks in Costa Rica.

When looking back the first computer I ever used was the old Macintosh green computers. This was when I was in elementary school. I had just used it to type. Then our school moved in with the internet but it was a very slow connection. We mainly only used it for research projects but were limited on our time limits. Growing up I never had a computer at my house till I was in my sophomore year in high school. Then we got internet my junior year. I just had used it to chat on MSN. Now I use it everyday for everything from email, research, reading the paper, and staying connected to my host family abroad.

Web 2.0 is very interesting but takes time to learn and understand. For me I see it as a huge umbrella. Everything fits under it somewhere it is just a matter of understanding it and using it correctly and perfectly.

types of movies

What kind of movie theme do you like to watch?


Happy Blogging!! Done it once or twice....

Hi my name is Jamie Johnson and I am senior here at the U and 22 years old. I am just finishing up my math degree, and possibly looking at finishing up a Mechanical engineering degree also. To be perfectly honest I am taking this class to help fill some elective credits and it fits into my schedule since I work alot. My current jobs involve being a DJ for parties on the weekend, working at a custom car shop during the week and trying to go to school full time. Besides my hectic work schedule I snowboard as much as possible and I have also been playing piano for around 13-14 years. Some other interesting tid-bits about myself is that me and a buddy just came back from a snowboarding trip in California and got stuck in the snow storm in Wyoming and witnessed around 4 accidents with semitrucks, but we made it fine, so happy blogging to all!

I do not recall my exact time of getting into the internet. I am not a programmer or computer geek in the least bit, and my knowledge of their workings would hardly be defined as extensive. I have always been into gaming and such as atari all the way up to xbox 360. My family was also one of those families that seemed to lag a bit in the technological world of computers. I can first recall actually using a computer and the internet back when it was around 28k modem with all the wonderful sounds that came along with hooking up aol. I believe we had a bought a gateway computer that was annoyingly bulky and since connection times and downloads and uploads were ridiclously slow most of my time on the net involved me getting mad at the computer and leaving to go make some lunch. It was mostly just used for some emailing and such because there really wasn't much information flowing at that time on the net. Also a couple years later was when I got my first cell phone, so for some reason my family took forever to get into computing, but I got to carry around one of those huge phones!

My experience with web 2.0 as looked through the articles has been absolutely fantastic as there is so much at my fingertips. I use it to run my car forums and promote my shop to help expansion and get our name out there. Its communication abilities are unmatched for speed and who you can stay in touch with these days who otherwise might not be accessible. As I said before I really did not get into the internet because I was not that patient of a young person and my family was behind in technology. Web 2.0 has made my life easier and keeps up with my lifestyle since I have everything at my fingertips and since it is constantly being updated its use is great.

What kind of cars are you into????

Import cars in ingeneral or modded
American Muscle cars
New American
Classics (1960's and earlier)

the other side of Web 2.0

As Matt pointed out, the idea of Web 2.0 isn’t exactly universally embraced or revered on the web. This list of Web 2.0 humor that he pointed to is worth clicking around in. The language isn’t exactly pristine, but it’ll give you a sense of some of the criticisms of the concept.

Hello Class

Hi there. I am Julie Swenson. I consider myself a super senior at the U. My major is Communications, with a 'minor' in Applied Business. I am self-employed as a Freelance Makeup Artist and Hairstylist, as well as a Salon/Spa/Beauty Industry Consultant. I turned 30 last year and am at peace with the grey hairs, cellulite and wrinkles that keep appearing daily. My husband and I are expecting in July of this year.

My first experience on a computer was around the age of 7. At that time we were either using IBM or Apples. I remember playing Number Munchers and Oregon Trail. It wasn't until my freshman year at the U of M (1995) that I started using the internet, mostly for research and e-mail.
I still use both a PC (desktop) and a MAC (laptop).

I believe Web 2.0 was the next (inevitable) evolution for the industry. Web 2.0 meets the demands of the internet's audience with benefits such as advanced data management, participation, and free services. I regularly use Craigslist to advertise my business, Amazon to buy books and materials for my business, MySpace to keep my social life going, and YouTube for entertainment.
However, I am still using old applications such as Evite and Ofoto. Because I am not on the internet often, I fall behind on the lastest and greatest.
This begs the question, what will Web 3.0 look like, and will Baby Boomers and Gen Xers be able to keep up? And further, with companies rushing to get on the Web 2.0 bandwagon without a strategic plan, how many of those companies will collapse?

Survey Question

If you could have walked in their shoes for one day, who would you be?

Buddy Holly
James Brown
Kurt Cobain
Frank Sinatra

Hello to all!

Hi, my name is Carl, and I'm a sophomore here at the U who will be turning 20 years old this coming Monday. I am a full time student currently majoring in neuroscience, although recently I've been considering a major change to something keeping scientific aspects but involving more writing, hence why I'm in this class. I've lived most of my life in Chesterfield, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. I'm a fan of all three major St. Louis sports teams, the Rams, Blues, and especially the world champion St. Louis Cardinals (man, that still feels awesome to say after three months), and I also really enjoy going to the Metrodome to cheer on the Gopher football team when they're in season. I really like video games too, getting my first system, an NES, for my fifth birthday and having owned at least one console from every generation since then, including the current one now that I've been fortunate enough to track down a Wii when I was home over winter break. Actually, it's the first nonportable Nintendo system I've owned since the days of the N64. I'm also an anime fan with a pretty extensive collection of DVDs, although most are of shows that are currently on or once aired on Adult Swim. I also regularly attend anime club meetings here at the U (That's from 6:30-10:00 every Thursday night in 2-520 Moos Tower, for those interested)

I don't remember quite when I first started using the internet, but I definitely remember when 28.8 dialup modems were common. I also vaguely remember using some old, text-based email software on my dad's computer to write to "keypals" when I was a really little kid. That's probably my earliest memory of using the internet. I didn't really become a regular user until well into the graphical interface era. A friend of mine introduced me to the message boards, and for a while I would spend a lot of time online just looking through them without an account of my own. Eventually I got my own computer that I actually owned (as opposed to just using my dad's when he wasn't around), and I started actually posting on those boards and playing online games like Starcraft and Diablo II with my crappy little dialup connection, which by then was slowly starting to become outdated. Honestly, it took a while for my house to finally go high speed since we actually were not equipped to handle DSL for a while despite living in a suburban area, and my dad was reluctant to get cable. Eventually though, we did get DSL, and we've been happy with that ever since. Currently, I don't really use my GameFAQs account anymore, but I am a regular poster over on the forums, which I started using once I realized I was using GameFAQs more to talk about anime and other stuff other than video games.

I think Web 2.0 pretty much defines what the internet is today. Although I haven't necessarily heard of everything on O'Reilly's list, I certainly am well familiar with the big names like Google and Wikipedia. I will admit I mostly go to Wikipedia for entertainment rather than serious research purposes since most college courses don't consider articles from there legitimate, but it comes in handy for settling informal arguments on message boards. I couldn't help but notice that part of the required readings for another technical writing class I'm taking actually consisted of Wikipedia entries. I saw that and immediately thought of this class. The community does include a blog too, so the concept of keeping one isn't totally foreign to me, but still, it's nothing I really update that often, maybe once or twice a month at best. Bittorrent is also important in the anime community for distributing fansubs, files of unlicensed anime series episodes with English subtitles created by fans, which ordinarily wouldn't be available in the US until; some American company licenses it, dubs it, and puts it on DVD. I tend to stay away from using it myself, opting instead to buy DVDs and occasionally watch stuff on Youtube, but I definitely know many people who do, plus it's the only source of certain series we watch in club.

Alright, now with the survey...

Adult Swim

Do you watch Adult Swim?

Yes, mostly for comedy
Yes, mostly for anime
Yes, a little of everything
No, it's not really my thing
What's Adult Swim?

Hello! I am hoping this works!

Hi! My name is Kate, I am 21 and I will be graduating in the Spring! I will have a degree from the Carlson School of Management in Marketing. I currently work in Strategic Marketing at Thomson West, part time. After I graduate, I will go full time! I work on their website,; more specifically, on SEO and banner merchandising. It is very exciting because I work on a team that is all new to making a website function better, and we get to learn together! For fun, I run, spend time with my family and friends, read, do crosswords, and I am also a 5K race organizer. Something unexpected about me is that I went to Africa a year ago!
My first experience with a computer was when I was probably 7. I learned to type using Mario teaches typing on a really old IBM, and then soon after that I remember our family getting AOL (circa 1993). I also remember playing games like Number Munchers, Oregon trail, and typing programs in grade school. The first online experience I can remember is figuring out what “IMing? was. My mom got mad when she realized I was talking to a complete stranger I had met in a “chat room.? I remember thinking typing was really cool, and someone once told my mom that it would be a blessing if I could learn how to type, because eventually, I would be able to type faster than I could write. And that meant I could get my thoughts out faster!

I think the concept of the Web 2.0 is brilliant! I think it is true that a new age has come for the internet. As I understood the article, what works and what doesn’t work online is becoming more clear. In my mind, the simpler a website is (little advertising like Craiglist and Google are the most successful because there is not a ton of clutter!) I think Web 2.0 has transformed users’ experiences and what they expect from the Web. Some Web 2.0 applications I use are Facebook,, Google, Ebay, and Craigslist.

Kate's Poll

What is your favorite place to grab a bite to eat around campus?

Panera Bread
Burrito Loco

This is like BBS

Good evening. My name is Ruoyu and it's my first time entering into a blog. I feel it's similar to BBS, like when you post a question. If I'm not using the right word, I beg your pardon.

I'm a 4th year student on physiology major, but am currently considering another track; yes, it doesn't make any sense, I don't deny. For the past 2 years I have been taking classes that I don't want to take, just because my parent hopes that I can study some medical science related major. I'm from a culture where traditional people fulfills their parents wishes -- they become what their parents hope them to become. So I thought I was only to study physiology, but I was wrong.

I'm taking this class because it seems interesting, as I'm thinking of taking rhetoric as one of my concentrating areas. It may not last long though -- it may change tomorrow. I'm a fairly inside person. I don't really go out, in fact I hate summer. What I enjoy doing the most now is probably to do anything on the computer, and to play my piano.

To this web 2.0, I'm one of those who thought it's a new technology. Well was that a beautiful misunderstanding... I'd like to see this replaces the desktop operating platform.

I was also introduced to computers by games, like most of you. When I was back in my country, some of my "rich" friends has started playing computer games while I thought Sega Saturn was the best creature in the universe. Until I was introduced to C&C Red Alert, that's when everything changed...I don't know much about computers, really. I have never formally taken any computer courses (except 1 semester of Visual Basic which was pretty much of a joke), all I know is just basic assembling, installing OS, and solve problems myself.

That's pretty much what I have to say. If I don't end up out of this class tomorrow afternoon, (please don't ask me why) I hope to have a great semester with you.

First Blogging Experience

Hi everyone! This is a new experience for me – blogging that is. ). Like many others, I’m used to posting on WebCt for classes. During 2006-2007 I decided to become a full time student trying to finish up my degree. I’ve been on the 80-year program – time to accelerate! After this semester I’m only two classes away from completing my undergrad degree (hopefully this fall). When I’m not in school or working, I like to bike with my husband, work in my garden, work out, hike, or just hang out with my kids. I also work full time as a Systems Analyst in a manufacturing company in St. Paul.

I started my career on the business side (Purchasing) and migrated to the IT side so I could work longer but few days while my kids were small. I became an operator at the Help Desk and my manager was excited because I had some background in LAN (local area network) security. Yes, I’ll be dating myself here but when I first started, we had to sign up to use the NBI (word processing computers) to type documents. The company graduated to PCs and connected them via the LAN. I was the security administrator for our floor. At the Help Desk, there were only a couple PCs. We were supporting mainframe applications (that included mounting big reels & tapes). Some of the “techies? were able to use the dial-up system to go through the library and bring back some archaic data from the web. It was really fun – we had text but no graphics. Boy have times have changed!

I still work on our legacy system (IDMS, DB2, SQL, etc) with little experience on the net. I want to become more Net savvy. I bought an Apple last year and love it! I am more comfortable using it than my PC at work. Safari and Firefox get my vote. From what I understand about Web 2.0 (and frankly I didn’t know there was a Web 1.0 and 2.0), it is so much better than before. Database management, in particular, can make or break you (key component). With contributions from everyone and everywhere, the amount of data can be endless. Web 2.0 appears to offer the flexibility that users demand. I like that releases are continuous and transparent - something that didn’t even occur to me before. Anyways, I’m excited about Web 2.0 and hopefully this class will prove to me that it’s not so intimidating once I get more familiar with the Net. Is it like going to a restaurant with a menu that is pages long? Overwhelming at first until you just look at it section by section?



What is your favorite type of cuisine?

Fast Food

Am I in the right place...?

I'm confused, but I think I can do this! My name is Christina Wahlberg, and I am a freshman here at the U of MN. I recently took a year off, and before then I took my first semester in the Duluth campus of the U of MN. I feel like such a youngster here, everyone else is talking about their last years in the University, and I've barely broken into the place!


Happy Blogging!

Hi Everyone! I am a full-time student currently trying to survive my last semester as an undergrad (in less than 4 months I will have a B.S. in Environmental & Natural Resources, with an emphasis in Environmental Education, YAY). I like to do all of the outdoorsy type of things for fun, like camping, hiking and fishing. I also love photography and art. I love traveling, so far my favorite places in the U.S. are New York, Vegas and California. I look forward to traveling to New Zealand, Iceland, and London someday. Something interesting about me is that I lived in Santa Barbara, CA for two years. I really miss the ocean!

My step-dad has always been a bit of a computer nerd so I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have a computer in the house; I can’t remember the exact systems we had. I used to love playing computer games when I was young. Some of my favorite computer games when I was a kid were (the original) Sim City, The Oregon Trail, Midnight Rescue, Pac-Man, Tetris (still a favorite), Minesweeper, and of course Solitaire.

I think Web 2.0 is awesome! I love how fast and easy it has made everything. I would like to consider myself as being pretty computer savvy, but before Web 2.0 creating web pages was such a hassle and I usually gave up before completely finishing a site. My main use of Web 2.0 (on a daily basis) is in the forms of blogs, Flickr, and Gmail.

Molly Ringwald Movies

What is your favorite 80's Molly Ringwald movie?

Sixteen Candles
The Breakfast Club
Pretty in Pink
P.K. and the Kid
The Pick-up Artist
For Keeps?
Fresh Horses

My first time blogging

Hi everyone my name is Dawn Luhmann. I am a full time student majoring in Agricultural Industries and Marketing. This is my final semester at the University because I am graduating after four wonderful years. Besides school, I work two part time jobs on campus one in research and as a library assistant. Other then school and working I love spending time with my family and friends. My family is my number one priority. I also enjoy traveling both in the states as well as abroad. I have been to Holland as well as just returning this last Monday from two weeks in Costa Rica.

When looking back the first computer I ever used was the old Macintosh green computers. This was when I was in elementary school. I had just used it to type. Then our school moved in with the internet but it was a very slow connection. We mainly only used it for research projects but were limited on our time limits. Growing up I never had a computer at my house till I was in my sophomore year in high school. Then we got internet my junior year. I just had used it to chat on MSN. Now I use it everyday for everything from email, research, reading the paper, and staying connected to my host family abroad.

Web 2.0 is very interesting but takes time to learn and understand. For me I see it as a huge umbrella. Everything fits under it somewhere it is just a matter of understanding it and using it correctly and perfectly.

What year in college am I?





Grad Student

Current Results

This week in computers

Hello. My name is Ramona, and I am currently a non-degree seeking student. I received my BA from the University a while back in English and art. Now I work at the U. I have two cats and a husband, love most movie genres, like to read good fiction and non-fiction, love cooking shows and magazines. I'm looking forward to starting seeds for my small vegetable garden next month. I bought some on line a few weeks ago and they are burning a hole in my pocket! I'm thinking of applying to the master's program in rhetoric. I don't have a cell phone but may need to buy one in the next several weeks. Any recommendations for a solid pay-as-you-go company and model?

I haven't always been a technophobe. My grade school and junior high school teachers made it clear to us that computers would be part of our future, even if they did not know exactly how. I remember being part of a select group of math students that got to observe a math teacher command a mainframe to make--a giant poster or calendar shaped by giant globs of numbers. I was unimpressed, except for the giant modem. Years later I was using computers in my professional life, and in about 1994 I decided to buy one. I looked in Computer and Computer User publications and decided upon a highly recommended 'best buy' that I ordered over the phone from Indonesia. I read another article on a new elegant operating system created by IBM, called OS/2 and was inspired to buy that and a word processing system called Ami Pro. Those were the first lessons to me in computer contrariness: no matter how elegant the system, don't be an elitist when purchasing software.

I subscribed to AOL and tiptoed around chatrooms for a time, coming upon many gentlemen whose wives did not understand them, no matter what the topic of the day turned out to be. I was alarmed in these pre-pop up blocker days at the number of explicit unsolicited e-mails and pop up ads and, though I admire the ability of the sex industry to adapt to new technologies, decided this environment was not for everyone. I also noticed a lot of chatrooms were dominated by probable teeagers spouting one-word sentence conversations.

The concept of the Web 2.0 ( as much as I understand it) both inspires and frightens me. In some applications there is a potential for lowest common denominator outcomes. In other well done applications, I think true e-democracy exists (except for those who can't afford access to computers or hookups--I'm looking forward to the $100 computer information). Defining Internet democracy can be tricky. This fall I heard Gov. Pawlenty speak before the election, and he posited that the iPod had democratized music. I wondered how that could be so when every part of it was for sale--the iPod, the tunes, even having an up to date enough computer. We weren't talking about economic access, that was for sure. I think it is interesting that the instincts of many intra-peneurs have been altruistic and community-building--i.e. shareware, Craigs List, Ebay.

That the Internet also attracts a more sinister clientele and business--predators, phishers, spammers, drug cartels selling phony designer purses, is of course the flip side of human nature and fascinating in its own way.

How do I use 2.0 applications? I do use Froogle to chase down bargains. I love IMDB, and have written an occasional review of a movie or DVD. I've looked at some blogs, and continue to be disappointed in the level of discourse on most messageboards. I've played on-line Jeopardy, but that is the extent of my interactive gaming.

Cell Phone Disposal

What did you do with the last cell phone you replaced?

Donated to charity
Exchanged with phone provider.
Donated to family member.
It was stolen, which is why I had to replace it.
Don't have a cell phone.

Jumping Right In

I am a 3rd year full-time student at the U majoring in Electrical Engineering. I own a small consulting firm operating out of Madison, WI with 2 partners. We do embedded design work for other companies in many different industries but work mostly with researchers who have hardware requirements for their projects. I was very lucky to meet the guys who are now my business partners because I now always have something that is encouraging me to finish my degree. Between that, various jobs around the cities, and school I tend to keep myself fairly busy.

I was first introduced to computers in grade school working with Apple IIe's. My family bought a 33MHz powerhouse in '93 and I have been off and running ever since. I have always had fun playing around with computers in various ways but noting really grabbed my attention like the internet. My family (mainly my father and I) was definitely in on the beginning of what was to become the mainstream internet. I remember getting a 28.8 modem and being disappointed that we could only run it at 14.4kbps for the first few months of having it because our service provider could simply not support it. I started making websites for fun around 7th grade and have been doing web application programming for the last 4 to 5 years. The first ever full scale project I started was a content management system for a theatre company I worked with high school. I love the idea of websites that are aware of their users and current date and time and consequently change themselves without the need for intervention by a programmer/designer.

The dawn of Web 2.0 is bringing about very interesting changes in the world of the web. User generated content, pastel colors, and more DHTML than you can shake a stick at. Web 2.0 has been an amazing of example of how possible it is to misuse good technology and make total crap with it. That's not to say it's all bad but there is a reason so many humor sites have popped up about it. The user experience is certainly getting better with browser based web applications finally beginning to act like their desktop counterparts. I have certainly taken to Web 2.0 techniques in sites I make. Asynchronous server calls make things possible that I never even thought of before. I think the main problems with the craze are just that, the craze about it. Companies that have taken time to make something that is well thought out and useful like Google Maps, Meebo, or flickr show some of the great possibilities that are out there.

* * * EDIT * * *
I guess it would've been helpful to give an example of a site I've made (Thanks Julie). Here is one that is an ongoing project for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication here at the U. This system indexes and displays examples of students' work they've done for class. Let me know if you have any questions about. SJMC Student Work

Personal Blogging

Do you have a blog? If so what kind of software do you use to run it?

MoveableType (what we're using)
Online Service (blogger, xanga, etc.)
I have no idea
I don't have a blog

January 17, 2007

New To This

Hello everyone. My name is Harpal (Paul) Thind. I would like to be called Paul. I am a full time student here at the U. I am a Junior and will graduate Spring of 08. My major is BME, Business and Marketing Education, and Communications. I have a lot that I like to do for fun. I travel a lot. Last year I went to LA, Las Vegas, twice, London, England, and also Cancun Mexico. I also like to play sports such as basketball, baseball, Golf, and I also like to fish. Yes fishing is a sport. Things that are interesting about me is that I really get along with everyone that I meet. I don't judge people based on first impressions. I judge them after I have met them. Just kidding. I run our family business which is managing and maintaining 2 liquor stores, one in Minneapolis and one in Arden Hills that we are just recently purchasing. I run the day to day operations and also help out with marketing. My parents help out as well however they also work full time at their day jobs.

I believe I came in in the development of the Net in it's infency. I remember reading about the Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and how he started an internet company and sold it for billions. The company had to do with showing live games on the internet. I believe that's where I started really getting interested in the net. Here is a link that talks about Mark Cuban, how he started out and how he made his billions.

My first experiences with computing would have to be playing number munchers and Oregon Trail on the Apple IIe's in grade school. My first online experiences looking back now would have to be that they where all really slow. I couldn't talk on the phone and be online at the same time until we got double lines. The experience overall though was really positive. I was just overwhelmed by all the information that I could get at. My first computer surfing the Net was an Acer Asphire. Which wasn't too bad.

I believe that the concepts of web 2.0 really have brought about more interaction among users. I do believe that it has transformed user experiences online. I believe that because of all of the web 2.0 applications, more people are getting involved with the Net and generally have a better experience with it. I use ebay and wikipedia regularly.

Online Courses

How many online course have you taken at the U?

more than 4

Chatting Nuthead

Hello everyone! My name is May Her and I am a full-time student, majoring in Business Marketing. This is my third year at the University and hope to finish next spring of 08. I currently work full-time at Wells Fargo Bank so that explains what I do if I am not at school. I have been with the company for three years and I hope to stick with the company and work my way up to the marketing department in the future if things go well. Besides school and work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I come from a huge family of nine kids, seven being girls. (Poor father) ? I also enjoy traveling, which I plan to visit Italy the end of this semester.

I can’t recall the first computer I had ever used but it was pretty slow! :X Pretty much, I used it to play solitaire and battleship. The internet was a hobby for me and I spent hours on it once I learned how to use it. I remember having AOL and I was addicted to chatting online. (Even sneaking behind my dad’s back!) I made a lot of friends online and I was inseparatable from it then. Now I use it for more educational purposes (google, etc), e-mailing, etc.

Web 2.0 has been very useful today, although I may not be an expert at it. I remember using geocities and angelfire when I first learned how to use codes but still can’t get it down, unlike my sister who is an expert at it all! It has been a great experience for meeting others, finding information, etc.


Your favorite TV Show:

American Idol
Law & Order
Fashion Runway
None of the above

Let's See If This Works

Hi all,
My name is Mark and I am currently a Senior at the University of Minnesota. As of now I plan to graduate in May and hopefully get a job in my major, Public Relations. Being a huge sports fan, I hope to get a job with an athletic organization. Currently, I live near campus and attend classes and have never taken a course online so this should be an interesting experience. I live with my girlfriend and she was the one that convinced me to do this so if I somehow do poorly, I am going to blame it on her.

I have been around computers for quite a while. I remember when I was much younger my father brought home an Apple II E. The screen was green and one had to put floppy disks into the drives to play games or run a program, how things have changed. Around 1995 after we bought a crappy computer and hooked it up with a 28.8k modem. The whole family thought it was the weirdest thing. However, my family is slow to change and we kept the dial-up until just last summer when I convinced them that it is a lot easier to get things done with a faster hook-up.

When I came to college and experieced a faster, more fun internet, it was like my life was changed. I went from barely using the internet to being on it for hours exploring. And while I do not consider myself that computer literate, I hope to learn a lot through this class.

It is my belief that Web 2.0 has benefitted our culture greatly. We are now able to interact and exchange ideas quicker and easier. From my experieces of writing reviews for products, to writing opinions for IMDB and iTunes, I have been able to become more connected with people on the Internet. I am excited to learn about all my colleagues and about the limitless opportunities the Web gives us.

Video Games

Which Gaming Console Would You Purchase First?

Nintendo Wii
None, they are all too expensive.

I do not know what I am doing!

Hi to everyone! Am I doing this correctly? Is this where I would introduce who I am?

How do you do?

I'm a 30 year old "non-traditional" student in the Program for Individualized Learning, trying to scrape together a Bachelor's degree so I can get into library school and eventually become a public librarian. When I'm not hunched over my schoolwork, I'm tutoring Somali high school students at the library where I work, which is extremely fun. I'm into bicycles, quilting, gardening, and writing letters on my typewriter, activities which are all on the back burner until summertime, it looks like.

My family's first computer was an Apple II GS. Mostly I used it to play Tetris and make drawings. My dad was always the computer person in the family, and to this day, he has a sign that points to the power button so my mom can find it. I didn't use the Internet until a few years ago, when I reluctantly opened an e-mail account. Strangely, I don't remember much about my first experiences online, just the road-rage feeling of frustration at the slowness of it all. These days things are faster, and I've come to rely on the Internet for work and school. I cannot imagine giving it up.

Even though I don't really use Web 2.0 applications that often, they are interesting to me as a democratizing force. So much of media ownership and control is concentrated in the hands of the rich and powerful few, but the Internet allows for and encourages participation by anyone who can get connected (I have to remind myself that many people in the world don't even have reliable electricity, let alone internet access). That being said, I really like and Flickr. I like that users can define what they think is important, and influence the online environment accordingly. Communities of interest emerge and disband constantly and collaboration between strangers has become commonplace. Sort of like online classes.

Hello, strangers.

Wild kingdom

Which animal would you most like to spend an afternoon with?

shetland pony

From France to Minneapolis

Hello everyone. I am Pierre, a French student studying abroad for one year. Please pardon my English, which should be actually ok (I hope) but still may contain a few mistakes. I am from south of France, originally from Marseille, but I study in Montpellier. In our system, I should be graduated at the end of this year, in communication and media. I am a full-time student, and besides University I would say that all my time/money/energy go to music. I actually don't play any instruments but I go to a lot of concerts (around twice a week generally), I buy a lot of records, I write about music on some websites and I used to have a dj night every weeks back in France ( I will probably work for a small record label at the end of this exhange program.
Some of the rest of my time is dedicated to sport (not enough time maybe...). I have played european football for 10 years when I was younger, and I still play sometimes for fun. My roomates are big fan of this sport, which was a good surprise when I arrived here!

I started using Internet very late, compared to what I have read about you. The first computer my family had at home was a pc in 2000 with a 56kbs connection. My father had a Macintosh before (don't ask me which model!) but I never used it. Our first internet provider was a small French company which made us pay with a minute rate and my mother almost killed me when she got the first bill. I had discovered online video games. A few months later, AOL arrived in France with the first cheap illimited contract which was a revolution for us. I did not play video games very long but Internet became a fabulous place to discover music, and almost all my use of internet in now related to it. I started making a website about a band four years ago, and I gave up because I don't have enough technical knowledges. As I said, I have been involved in a few websites, but just as a writer (

I did not know what the Web 2.0 was exactly before reading the article, and I have to say I am not sure if I completely got it. I think I may have known Web 2.0 since I'm online so I don't really see the difference... I have a little question on this subject. I have seen a few references in the article to the facebook or other websites that I did not know, but nothing about myspace. Since I have been here, I have met many people telling me that myspace is not so popular in the USA, compared to the facebook. I did not expect that at all. In Europe, the facebook does not exist, and everyone (well, almost everyone) has a myspace account. So, is Myspace a good example of what the web 2.0 is? Did I only meet some people not representative of the USA?

French politics

Which French politician have you heard of the most?

Nicolas Sarkozy
Ségolège Royal
Jean-Marie le Pen
François Bayrou
None of them

Glad I Wasn't First!

Hello All,

I am finishing up my last semester at the U with a degree in Communication Studies. (Insert CLA joke here) Alot of people ask me what I am going to do with my degree to which I reply, communicate. I currently work for the University of Minnesota Foundation as a Student Development Representative or as most people commonly call it, a telemarketer. However, the job is not as bad as it may seem, in fact I have a lot of wonderful conversations with alumni and also help raise a substantial amount of money for the University. I was born and raised in southern MN before I attended the U and plan on moving somewhere, ANYWHERE, for a while with the most likely intention of coming back to the cities eventually.

Have you ever been in a class where you know the answer to the teacher's question, but are afraid to say it aloud just in case you might be wrong? This is how I felt last night as I thought I would try and tackle this week's assignment then. The blog stood with only Krista's posts and here I am trying not to look like an idiot or worse, computer illiterate by posting somewhere that I wasn't supposed to. My first experience with the internet happened throught computer gaming. I was the first kid on the block to have a PC but the last to get the internet. So, in the mid 90's when the computer we had was by far obsolete, my family got the internet and I officially became the last person you ever wanted to play StarCraft with. StarCraft, a computer game made post WarCraft, was my first influential experience with the internet. I say this because it was not the first, but it was probably the reason I fear technology today. Like I said my computer was slow and outdated and frequently became the reason for LAG in the game. This lack of confidence in my old IBM discouraged me from expanding my horizons and deterred me from strong internet usage.

Throughout my college years I have become increasingly comfortable with using computer technology but still overall am apprehensive. The concept of Web 2.0 seems to be another great advancement for computer-mediated communication as it allows users to become more proactive in their approach to the internet. As every college student I have watched the rising popularity of Facebook and Myspace. I use services like Ebay and Neteller as well. My main concern about Web 2.0 is not with the technology and freedom it has brought us, but the constant and extreme involvement computers now have in our everyday lives. I am curious to know the perspective of those of you who are more directly affiliated with the use of computers either in your major or your everyday life.

Are you addicted to the Net?

How much time during your day do you spend working/playing on the internet?

Less than 1 hour
1 to 3 hours
3 to 5 hours
more than 5 hours

Blog virgin

I have been taking online courses at the University since 1999 and I am approaching graduation in May with a Bachelor in Applied Business degree. It will be a different routine at home without 2 courses to worry about each semester. I am sure my wife will have plenty of projects for me to do.

I started at the University in 1974 working towards a Computer Science degree. I completed most of the initial core programming courses before I ran out of money and had to jump into the wonderful world of advertising.

I have always had an interest in computers since I was very young. My dad worked for Honeywell back when the mainframes occupied an entire room and everything was run from tapes. One of my first exposures using a remote computer was with a portable computer that came in a suitcase. We dialed into a mainframe and watched the printer churn out words that could be generated from our telephone number. I was so amazed that we could be accessing a remote computer from our kitchen. My 2 years at the University in the 1970’s were spent in the keypunch room writing programs for the courses I was taking and working for the Graduate School of Business as a programmer in Blegan Hall.

I live in Minnetonka with my wife and two children. They have been incredibly supportive of the time I have put into the completion of my degree. After 30 years in business, it is funny when my 9 year old asks my what I am going to do for a job after I graduate. All he knows I that you get a job after you finish school.

Web 2.0 has changed my current job dramatically. Ten years ago I was only selling commercial time for television stations around the country. Now my sales focus is twofold. Not only am I selling the television station’s broadcast property but also I am also selling their web site. I have to help the advertiser to create a compelling reason for the surfer to dig deeper into a site, which will help generate revenue for the advertiser.

Blog virgin?

In all of my previous online classes we have communicated through WebCT. This is my first attempt at blogging. I hope I can make a seamless transfer into blogging for the course.

On a side note, my 12-year-old son is pleading for a Sims 2 Game. Is it appropriate for a young boy?

Sims 2

Is the content in Sims 2 appropriate for a 12 year old boy?

With supervision
No way
I have no idea

January 16, 2007

Hello all!

Where do I start? I am yet another person that was working in the engineering field. I worked as an Electronic Technician for a company that manufactured power generators for seven years and became very very very very burned out. The occupation didn't have any room for growth and the work became pretty boring to me.

I got married last August to an amazing woman. She's a smart, caring Health Researcher with a Masters in Public Health. I proposed to her at the Louvre (sp?) in Paris. That makes for a good story ha ha. We spent our honeymoon on Vancouver Island (British Columbia). That was a beautiful place. Over the Christmas break we went to Puerto Vallarta for a few days. With all of our wedding planning and career changes (The wife changed jobs too) and me starting at the U, we needed another vacation. It was great. I hope we can afford to do that again ha ha.

We both love animals. We have three cats and sometimes "borrow" my parents' 105 pound lab/dane cross aptly named Clifford. He's a goofball. I joke about making them pay for ever being born but they're actually pretty well behaved. The cats are amazingly gentle with my niece and nephew.

I had been going to night classes for the past few years and finally earned enough credits for a transfer to the U. I quit my old job and work part time as a bartender. My wife has been really supportive. I'm currently in the Scientific and Technical Writing program full-time and look forward to a career where I can utilize my creativity.

My favorite hobbies/activities would have to include photography, mountain biking, skiing, and boating on the Saint Croix. I've been into photography for something like 14 years. Until recently I used my grandfather's 1969 Pentax Spotomatic. I've finally entered the digital age and bought a Nikon D50. There's never enough time to go out shooting.

I guess one interesting thing about me is that I've been described as having a freaky knowledge of trivia. I played an 80's trivia game recently and destroyed everyone. My only weakness is sports trivia. I never cared for team sports that much. I'm more interested in the individual sports like boxing and Olympic events.

My first experience with computers was an ancient "Pong" type video game system when I was 4 or 5. I was amazed and wondered how it all worked. Later on my dad bought an Atari 5200 game system. It was really cool and before it's time. We had fun playing games like Star Raiders and Missile Command.

My first experience with a personal computer occurred when dad bought an Apple Macintosh. I found that the Mac was far more interesting than the older Apple computers and anything IBM ever made. I was a Mac user until I started working at my Technician job. I finally had to learn how to operate the dreaded Windows operating systems.

I first became familiar with the internet in the mid 1990s. I had a friend that always tinkered with computers. So he started going online after the internet became fairly user friendly. He signed up with AOL and did some surfing and chatting. I wasn't too interested in the internet just yet. Later on my dad signed up with someone and used one of his old 486 computers to surf. It was SO SLOW! I emailed a little but wasn't too interested just yet. After I started my Technician job, I became more proficient with the internet. As my job became more boring, I surfed more and more ha ha!

I think that the concept of Web 2.0 relates to the evolution that took place. Web 1.0 seemed to be a result of companies trying to transfer their existing resources like encyclopedias onto the internet. Individuals would make their own website with out any way to connect with others. Web 2.0 seemed to convert these "islands of information" into sites that allowed for communication and collaboration.

I've enjoyed getting news on specific topics from various blogs. I like being able to comment on the topics. I also utilize forum websites to get information on how to repair my computer and Jeep. They are life savers!

Blender's Question

Where do you like to vacation?

Tropical Beach Resorts
Mountain Ski Resorts
The Boundary Waters
No Time to Vacation!

Hello Sports Fans its me SportsGuy22

Hello Class,
I am a senior studying science and technology communication, and looking to graduate next fall. I was in engineering for 3.5 years, and for the last 2 of it I was miserable, but now I am happy. Learning to communicate through several different mediums and using my technical knowledge has lead me to believe I have found the right major. I am an avid sports fan: Packers, Bucks, Brewers, Marquette Golden Eagles, as well as a temporarily retired gamer. I enjoy learning all about what is new in the world of online and computer technology and am thinking about learning to create a website and possibly use Linux on my next computer.
With the history of the internet, I was exposed to the early stages of the internet in elementary school, but was never allowed or had the ability to learn what it was. Over the years in middle school and high school I grew thirsty for knowledge. By the 7th grade my parents had borrowed a computer that ran DOS so that my sister and I could learn how to type. That computer quickly got scrapped after my parents realized it didn’t have a mouse. My parents are the victims of Gateway, but it was a nice first system for them and we bought a subscription to AOL and that is how I learned all about the internet. Looking back, it was amazing how much time I was allowed online alone, unsupervised when so many horrible things are readily available. I spent most of my time chatting using the instant messaging and developed quite a savvy for meeting people, I learned that chatrooms were ridiculous but that playing online games made for better interaction with online personalities. There was only one instance where I was completely fooled. I had an AOL profile and was found by a girl who was going to be coming to my school. She did the usual ambiguous online flirting and actually talked to some of my other friends, and in fact called them once. However, this all turned out to be a hoax, because the girl never showed up at our school. I think I might have been naïve about the whole online domain at that age, but it was a positive experience.
I can accept the fact that when a website is designated as Web 2.0, I can distinguish if, by this articles standards, it is or isn’t. However, I think the ever-changing landscape of online culture would soon dictate that newer versions or website or new technology can possibly be better than something that was deemed Web 2.0. I just like to refer to them as “The new sweetest thing I discovered? like I use, BensBargains, and recently began using I am looking forward to reading how others feel on Web 2.0, and hopefully this might lead into the discussion of what a KillerApp is.

Worst Sports Personality

Who do you despise the most?

Bill Walton
Michael Irvin
Stephen A. Smith
Dick Vitale

My Personal History Online

I am 53 years old, married for 27 years, and we live in a beautiful house in the woods on a pond in Taylors Falls, MN, with three cats. I am an adult learner in the Program for Individualized Learning ( My degree is Information Technology Management in a Medical Setting. I am a part-time student working full-time as a Lead Analyst/Programmer in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, where I have worked for 15 years. I am a pilot with an instrument rating and I also enjoy scuba diving.

I began my computing experience after buying an Apple II computer in 1979 and taught myself to program it. In 1980 I published a software program for the Apple II titled Mailing List Manager. This began my career as a computer programmer. I entered the development of the Net using modems to dial into Bulletin Board Systems ( in about 1981. The first modems I used were 300 baud and then 1200 baud. Wow! I immediately became enthralled with the all of the information available to me on-line! About 1994 I began browsing the Web 1.0 with Mozilla.

I think Web 2.0 has transformed user experiences online. Web 2.0 (O'Reilly, What Is Web 2.0?) certainly has transformed my experience online! I primarily use the web for news and information related to actively managing my investments, retirement accounts, and in support of my career. For weather and pilot preflight briefings, the wealth of infomation available to me has also transformed how I fly. I do as much of my shopping online as I can. For most of my searching I use Google and AltaVista. I use the bowsers Safari and FireFox, and for e-mail I use Apple and OutLook Mail.

Just because I'm a computer programmer does not mean I know everything (or much at all) about the Internet. I look forward to learning much more about Internet Communication: Tools and Issues. With the MovableType blog and Sparklit, I have already begun!

Don't get me started on the iPhone. This blog isn't large enough for me say how excited I am about the technology!


Are you a pilot?

Private pilot
Would like to learn to fly
Have never flown

January 15, 2007

Intro to Krista

It only seems right that I introduce myself while we’re at it. I’m a third-year PhD student in the Department of Rhetoric, Scientific and Technical Communication. I just finished taking my qualifying exams, so now I’'m beginning to write my dissertation. Some of you know me from other courses I’ve taught — most likely Scientific and Technical Presentations (RHET 3257) or the online version of Technical and Professional Writing (RHET 3562). Some of you may be surprised to learn that I don’t just sleep in my teacher’s coffin when I’m not teaching or researching. I cook, go to galleries and movies, and yes, I fiddle around online too much. My husband and I also take long road trips whenever we can. Last summer we drove 6,000 miles.

The first computer I ever worked on was an Atari that my parents bought in the early 80s. The monitor was an old TV. I played a zillion games of Battleship, Defender, and PacMan, wrote a bit in Turtle (the Atari variant of Logo), and learned basic word-processing. (It was very easy to impress teachers by turning in word-processed papers then.) I wasn’t online for another decade, though. I remember being amazed when one of my dad’s friends showed me Prodigy, because I had no idea you could talk make a computer talk to other computers. I had always thought of them as stand-alone objects. Around 1994, we jacked in with one of the early versions of AOL with a 28.8k modem. We got it because my mom was interested in the idea of the Net as a universal library, but she ended up being disappointed because there really wasn’t enough out there then and search engines were practically nonexistent. I think I used it mostly for chat and email.

In my experience, Web 2.0 has been completely transformative. I’m not a programming or coding geek, so for a long time the Net was a more passive experience for me. It was full of pages that I looked at, not pages that I made myself. (I was working full time while doing my undergrad coursework full time in the late 90s, so I never felt like I had the extra time to get a GeoCities or AngelFire page and learn to code.) When I started blogging in 2002 with MoveableType 1.something, that changed for me. Suddenly, I could put up my own content really easily! It changed me from an observer to a participant, and it really opened up the Net for me. I’ve met people I’ve have never run across otherwise and learned how to make emerging technologies really work for me. Now a good proportion of the sites I frequent are user-generated, from academic blogs to IMDB to Wikipedia to consumer reviews on EMusic and Amazon and student reviews on

Speaking of emergent technologies, I’m curious about your opinion of the New Next Big Thing:


Are you already lusting after an iPhone?

Maybe. I want the price to come down first.
Maybe. I want to let them run through a couple of versions first.
No, I think gadets are silly.
What's an iPhone?

Game on.

In the five years that I’ve been teaching online courses, I’ve found that it’s useful to spend some time getting to know each other at the beginning. These first posts will help us do that as we’re discussing the week’s readings. Since we’re starting on Tuesday this week, you’ll have an extra day to get your posts up. The deadline is Midnight on Thursday, January 18.

Your job this week is to integrate a bit of your personal history with your ideas and questions about the history of the Net. There are several things I’d like for you to accomplish in this post:

  • First, spend a just few words telling us a bit about who you are. Some questions you might answer are: Are you a full-time student? What’s your major? What do you do for fun? What’s interesting or unexpected about you?
  • Then, tell us where you came in in the development of the Net. (If you can give us a link, all the better. If not, no problem.) What were your first experiences with computing? With being online? What sort of equipment were you using? How did you react to it?
  • What are your thoughts on the concept of Web 2.0? Do you think it’s generally transformed user experiences online? What Web 2.0 apps do you regularly use? (Remember, things like Amazon reviews count here.)
  • Finally, ask your classmates a simple multiple-choice question using the Sparklit survey application. From the homepage, click on the MiniSurvey link and then on the 100% Free MiniSurveys sign-up link. Follow the directions to set up an account if you don’t already have one. Then follow the directions for setting up a questions. (I’d suggest having no more than five possible answers.) When you get to Step 4 (the “Select Survey Type” prompt), choose Embedded DHTML. Then copy the code it generates and paste the it into the end of your entry. Poof! A survey!
  • When you comment on other folks entries, do ’em a favor and take their survey too. Won’t take but a couple of seconds.

January 13, 2007

Updating your name

As I mentioned in the email, you’ll need to change the way your name appears on the blog. Right now, it shows your full first and last names. You should modify this to either your first name only or a pseudonym. Several of you have asked if you can use your x500 ID, and that would be perfectly fine. Just drop me an email if you haven’t already and let me know what name you’re going by so I can make sure you get proper credit.

To change the information, you’ll begin by logging on to Uthink at Click on the "Login to UThink" link at the top of the sidebar.

UThink Login
(You can click on any of these images to see a larger version.)

Once you’ve logged on, you’ll see the main MoveableType menu. Your screen won't have all of the same blogs that mine does, of course.

Changing names in MT 1

Click on the welcome link with your x500 ID at the upper right corner.

Changing names in MT 2

That’ll take you to the Author Profile screen, which is pretty self-explanatory. (I’m not screencapping it here because I don’t want to release my ID to the world.) Update your info, click “save changes”, and you should be good to go.

January 12, 2007

Welcome to the blog

If you’ve found your way here, it’s most likely because you’ve followed the links from the RHET 3401 WebCT site. Welcome to Life in the Network! We’ll be using this site for our discussions and as a way of exploring applications. I’ll also post course news and links to all sorts of relevant things.

January 5, 2007


If this posts, then the machine is working.