September, 2011

Cave Painting: The Infographic

September 28th, 2011 September 28th, 2011
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Week Four – Timeline Project!

September 23rd, 2011 September 23rd, 2011
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This week was heavily focused on the timeline project, which was due in its first iteration on Thursday. My group–Kyle, Abbey, and Mike–were doing Information in the Digital Age. We split the project up four ways, and part of what I did was discuss the major internet browsers. While I was reading Microsoft’s account of Internet Explorer’s history, I happened to read something about the Trojan Room Coffee Pot. The Trojan Room Coffee Machine wound up being my favorite “technological event” of those that I filled out. I spent awhile researching it, and reading accounts of how the coffee machine came to be an internet sensation. In short, the Trojan Room Coffee Machine was the first webcam star. The Trojan Room is a room on the second floor of a computer laboratory at Cambridge University, and essentially, the coffee pot became a webcam star because the computer scientists on floors other than the second became frustrated with having to walk to the second floor coffee pot, only to find it empty. One of the accounts that I read–and unfortunately I can’t remember which–essentially mocked the scientists because they rigged up a webcam so that they wouldn’t have to walk up or down stairs and then wait while coffee brewed. I guess it could be said that the most incredible acts of laziness lead to great technological achievements! Anyway, that was by far my favorite technological event that I posted.

Week 3/infographic project & readings

September 16th, 2011 September 16th, 2011
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We picked our project topics this week. I’m going to be creating an infographic on the history of cave paintings. So far, I’ve done research but have not yet begun to actually create/design the infographic. I’m going to split the infographic into sections. So far, I’m thinking that the sections will be something along the lines of: history, cultural and social meaning, notable examples (i.e. Cavernes Lascaux), and cave paintings in modern culture.

For our readings this week, we focused on print culture and coffeehouses. Part of our reading for Tuesday was James Gleick’s The Information, prologue through Chapter 3. Gleick’s book fascinates me, and that made it an easy read. Chapter 1 of The Information¬†focused on African talking drums; interestingly–and we discussed this in class–Gleick discussed the talking drums in conjunction with a discussion of Morse code, which seemed to me a stretch. While Morse code was a utilitarian method of long-distance communication, the African talking drums were a method of dispersing not only practical but also sentimental information. Additionally, the poetry and style of an African talking drum would have been entirely omitted from Morse code. In class, Kyle made the point that comparing them was ridiculous because when possible, of course societies would switch to Morse code. I disagree–I think that even within one society, the two technologies could and would coexist, because they would serve two entirely different functions–the one, for wide dissemination of local news, and the other, for point-to-point practical information sharing.