Week 11 – Round Up

I miscalculated. Despite my thinking that Week 10 was the last round-up, it’s actually week 11!

On Monday/Tuesday Philip posted an article about how AI should be feared according to tech-entrepreneur Elon Musk, who previously announced plugging us in to the machine would keep human development at pace with AI. I’m perhaps missing something here, but fighting fire with fire has its own risks for sure.

Thursday saw Audrey Watters’ excellent talk on “Driverless Ed-Tech” and the automation of education, which is particularly relevant to my intended subject for the Digital Essay. As was mentioned by others on the accompanying YouTube chat, I found it very engaging to be online, tweeting (11 times) and discussing the points I picked up. This level of engagement would be much harder in-situ. However, where my tweets have persisted, YouTube chat transcript has not.

Week 11 included April 1st, which I do enjoy. A MSCEDC-relevant fool from NVIDIA was examined briefly in a blog post which included a tweet and the video.

Some other blog-entries were lighthearted takes on serious issues. Take this look at how relationships and community form (or not) online in VR. Not everyone jokes on April 1st however. A sober lesson that even “techno-utopians” can be weathered down by constant exposure to some elements of the internet’s wider community also featured.

I was spending time reviewing my Lifestream, and I sorted out some issues, and also revisited some “old” posts, and themes.

I was looking ahead too, not just to the Digital Assignment, but also to the rest of the year. I look forward to seeing if 2017 brings about practical application of the trends we might expect to see.

Meta: Very useful tip about editing WordPress categories

Generally speaking, if you think something would be a good idea with any popular web application such as WordPress, someone has already thought of it. If you’re lucky, then there’s a plugin to help. If you’re really lucky, then it’s already part of the native capability of WordPress! In this case, I wanted to fix a category mis-match between a couple of IFTTT recipes I’d made and not corrected. Apparently, I can do this in bulk. WordPress has an awesome community built up around it. This has helped to lead it to its massive popularity for sure. Here’s a link to the guide I found via Google:

Assigning or Changing Categories for Bulk Posts in WordPress

Feature image source: https://xkcd.com/627/

Trends of E-learning for 2017

Going forward in to 2017 I have no doubt that the items listed in the infographic above feature in the pedagogic, deterministic, budgetary and strategic discussions variously held throughout UK Higher Education. I just wonder how quickly they will permeate down to the experiences of academics and students in the classrooms, and which institutions will be among the first to make the most capital out of each one.

via https://twitter.com/RIOTSCS/status/847967504760791042

Week 10 – Round Up

Week 10, and my final weekly round-up post, chronologically at least. I’m still missing at least one somewhere back a few weeks which I’ll take time to pick up along with the general tidying up of my lifestream blog that will take place in the next couple of weeks.

I’ve added a new category of posts this week entitled “Algorithmic Culture and Turnitin“. I had intended to use these to record my activity toward my digital essay, but as I pause to reflect over the task at hand in preparation of this blog for submission, I’m not sure if that’s actually advisable. I may have to pick up my own blog somewhere else to continue with this.

This week was also one of the busiest periods of the year at my work, with the Multilingual Debate 2017 happening on-campus (Heriot-Watt University) and streamed online. The afternoon debate was around the subject of robots, so there was plenty of discussion coming up that I saw as relevant to the #MSCEDC which I combined with #MLD2017 (the event hashtag).

This was also the week of the final Hangouts session, for which I managed to use a chroma key filter to create a backdrop of a selection of images I used for my Block 1 Artefact. This went down well, but the novelty did not detract from an excellent discussion with the class, though it may have etched a resilient memory in the minds of some. I thoroughly enjoyed this session, and took a lot of notes that will be most useful in my Digital Essay.

This was also the week to reflect on the analysis conducted on the tweetorial. My official response is written, as requested. I also put together some thoughts to help me get started writing using video.


p.s. The idea of an EDC playlist still entices.



Tweetorial and TweetArchivist – my thoughts

How has the Twitter archive represented our Tweetorial?

TweetArchivist has represented our “intensive tweeting” period as a series of graphs, tables and word clouds. It has used quantitative measurements such as a sum (e.g. total number of tweets per user), averages (e.g. word clouds) and counts (e.g. number of hashtags used). It has done so with a tool that is not specifically designed to offer learning analytics. Not say that fact precludes its presentation from being used in such a manner, which I’ll get to later in this post.

Continue reading “Tweetorial and TweetArchivist – my thoughts”

Some thoughts down on video ahead of my tweetorial write-up

Never sure how to get video to embed properly in this blog from the media service, and I’m out of time, so here are a couple of links to the same thing:



Week 8 – Round Up

Algorithms are awesome. From procedural generated computer games, to making recommendations on what music I might like, I’m very much a fan of what they do having been exposed to them from a young age. I checked out Reddit which is an interesting algortihm to consider here because the algorithm works in tandem with human input to identify content which is “relevant”. In theory Reddit should provide the level of agency that Gillespie doesn’t think we can achieve. In reality, it usually just ends up with a very american view of the world.

I also wondered why, given the importance of search engines, Google can escape the same levels of ire that media moguls receive. Not that I suggest the Murdoch empire is unfairly criticised. On reflection, perhaps Google has watched and learned the issues faced by print and broadcast media.

I spend a fair bit of my time at work dealing with issues around Turnitin, so I was surprised to see it mentioned so prominently as an algorithm used extensively in Higher Education in one of the core readings. This now vies for my attention on my essay portion of this course’s assessment.

I’ve created my artefact for this week. I tried very hard to “break” the algorithm on Steam, but I think without actually buying and playing a game that I would never normally countenance, there is not much chance of that happening. I found the process of re-running the “queue” to be quite enjoyable. There’s a message of over-consumption in there too which I haven’t addressed in my video.

I also found time to begin the process of tidying up my blog, I’m sticking with this theme now, as it seems to do everything asked of it by IFTTT. I also looked at my earliest posts and started to add the meta information required.

Credible knowledge sources

Fox attempts to knock back the argument that the Murdochs, or more correctly the Murdoch Family Trust, will have under their control several of the leading news providers in the UK after the deal. It notes the separation between broadcast and print businesses, while pointing out that both companies have their own boards and independent shareholders.


The UK is currently looking at the division of labor in news production and circulation being even tighter. This apparently concerns a lot of people, including the UK Government.

Gillespie says that the production of information can only be handled by proxies in the division of labour. To do so otherwise would be too mammoth a task given the size of our country

“some produce and select information, and the rest of us, at least in that moment, can only take it for what it’s worth”.  (Gillespie, 2012 p 25)

And yet, when considering the fundamental importance of a single search engine’s algorithm in putting news and content in front of the information consumer, Google’s market share is not prominent in the headlines, despite it account for 88% of UK search engine activity in January 2017 according to Statista.com


This comes down to a number of reasons, but one which I’d be interested in exploring is that the technology is not understood by law makers. Unlike traditional media who have actively sought to lobby and influence and gain power in the UK political arena, tech companies give the appearance at least, of enjoying staying out of the limelight and just getting on with what they do. I suspect the latter part of that is naive, I’m sure they do plenty lobbying too, but I don’t see a google doodle appearing any time soon stating “It was google what won it” in reference to a general election result.


My first memory of algorithms

(image source: http://8bs.com/beebugmags.htm)


It was a programme that my dad and I typed, line-by-line in BBC Basic. The BBC micro combined with hours of painstaking debugging from the lines of code printed in the Bebug Magazine pictured above, resulted in a programme that would create trees on-screen based on your inputs. I guess in today’s money such programming would be referred to as “procedural generation”, but it’s still an algorithm. Procedural generated games are among the most fascinating experiences gaming has to offer today. At least, I think they are. The controlled randomness of it all is fascinating to watch unfurl as it moves through its magical creative powers.

Using algorithms to create learning pathways could be very similar to game design. I hope I can investigate this more fully in the Games Based Learning module coming up in the next academic year.

(image source: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/games-developed-by-algorithms)


Algorithms; community and eye tracking in VR

Given that we’ve moved on to algorithms and culture, I thought to check out some stuff from Reddit. Reddit is driven by an algorithm, though it also has elements of human interaction to drive content up or down a hierarchy. It’s from a day-gone-by pre web2.0, but the site holds in there with huge communities built up around the “sub-reddits” there. I found an interesting discussion opening up over on /r/vive, a section of Reddit which is dedicated to primarily HTC Vive, but also VR in general.

“With all the talk about eye tracking inside VR headsets, I wanted to ask and see how many people on here have had LASIK eye surgery. The reason I am asking is because I believe I have discovered a fatal flaw in eye tracking technology when it comes to people who have had LASIK eye surgery.”

Eye tracking flaw after LASIK surgery from Vive

The user suggests that after a form of eye surgery, eye tracking software ( which is increasingly likely to be bundled along with VR. I can hear Facebook salivating at the thought of tracking eyeballs and adverts…..).

I “upvoted” the discussion, as I feel it’s an interesting and well considered original post. However, the algorithm behind Reddit, combined with other user’s interactions with the story, will determine how long the post remains visible to other users, and its position on the page.


My Micro-Ethnography and Week 7 round-up.

Here is the link to my Micro-Ethnography.

I created it using an “artificially intelligent” web design package. This is part of its editing facility:

I spent too long on this exercise at the expense of other things (such as tidying up this blog) which was not what I intended. Nevertheless,  I feel like I have an understanding of Kozinets (2010) and an appreciation for other netnographers that I did not start with. I’d need to suck up my guts and get on with sorting niggling bits of grammar, spelling and structure for an assessment. As it is, I think it stands well enough for the kind of “low-stakes” exercise we’ve been asked for. I’m both happy and annoyed with it at the same time. I like it for what it is, and what it represents, and I’m frustrated that I haven’t been able to do more in the time that I had.

Week 6 otherwise has been quieter on the life-streaming front. I followed in the footsteps of Fournier, Kop and Durand (2014) and tried out Nvivo. Which I share their reservations about (for another blog post, perhaps). In the end I just eyeballed my data and counted in my head….

I checked out the excellent micro-ethnography submissions from my EDC cohort, and managed to get comments through from their blogs on to mine.

I’m interested in pursuing something around Virtual Reality and community for my assessment, so I’m trying to pull in relevant articles in to my lifestream.

Categories are set up for most (if not all) my posts, which I’ll need to do something with, but for now they can be selected to filter down to some of the themes of my lifestream.

On to block three…

Fournier, H., Kop, R. & Durand, G., (2014). Challenges to Research in MOOCs. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 10(1), pp.1–15.

Data – The Machine Will Out

“With a high volume of data, there was no other choice than to utilize a computer program to aid in organizing the data and increase rigor by coding all data systematically” (Fournier et al, 2014 p6).

Thanks to MOOCs, which are made possible via computers and the Internet, the data sets generated can be so vast that there is “no other choice” (ibid) to use a computer to analyse the results. Fournier recognises the shortcomings of the “restrictive nature” (ibid) of such tools but carries on with them regardless.

The software used was NVivo (see QSR video below). Does the software claim to be more than human? It seems like it.

“Maximize your knowledge. Gain an Edge, and make better decisions ” (0:24).  Not just “better” but this software actually “helps you make intelligent decisions”(0:40) so you can “make robust decisions faster” (2:40) and “uncover insights faster” (4:09). “It’s the perfect option to start your research journey” (1:20).

This one was interesting though: “discover emerging themes, patterns and sentiment in minutes” (2:27). Sentiment! Interpreting sentiment is surely the domain of the human. Should we leave software to “[count] particular words, rather than interpreting them as a human researcher might do?” (Fournier et al, 2014 p6).

Fournier et al argue that human and machine working together is preferable for research in and around MOOC contributions. So I’m now signed up to a 14-day trial of this tool and I can see whether or not I feel my knowledge is “maximised”, an “edge” is gained, and my quick decision making is “better”, “robust” and “intelligent”.  This will form part of my micro-ethnography submission, I hope.

QSR International Video source:

Fournier, H., Kop, R. & Durand, G., (2014). Challenges to Research in MOOCs. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 10(1), pp.1–15.

Without the internet I would not have learned what I learned tonight…

….Without the internet I would not have required to have learned what I learned in the first place.


I then set about creating a birthday wish with some video and images for my brother-in-law. It got a bit out of hand. I enjoyed learning what I needed to learn in order to create. I used YouTube, blogs, online discussion forum and some web pages to figure out techniques around Chroma Key, simple animation of images, cross-channel fades, downloading youtube videos….. I then posted it to Facebook so that my brother-in-law and his facebook friends could view it.

The end result itself for this course is not entirely relevant, but the skills I have learned tonight are exceptionally useful. Learning by doing. If you have the motivation to put effort in to something, then you will go the extra mile. This is why some technology, despite its obvious novelty value, is of great value in the classroom. Once you hook someone in, be it through motivation of progressing or changing status in a community, or just because something is fun initially, it can result in a great deal of satisfaction for the learner. No doubt for the teachers too, who see students getting to a new level of understanding without having to battle against unwillingness to learn.

Community in MOOCS should provide that backdrop. A motivation for learning. Appeal to those who can form connections out of nothing more than keypresses and internet communication. By  fostering community, the basic social need to be heard, to be seen, to be understood can be met.

Anyways, here’s the rather random outcome of my brother-in-law’s birthday wish.

Media Sources:

Soundtrack and some video clips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXfs8qymvCc

Broforce PS4 game footage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YchbF1b8m4

Greenscreen effects:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwRgYgC013o

Week 6 – Round Up

This week has been about my micro-ethnographic course over on Future Learn. I’ve been thinking about the ASPIRE framework, which is a good attempt at structuring workflow in advance of creating a bottom-up reusable learning object. I don’t know if I should be posting my comments from over there to my blog here or not. Perhaps they’ll be out of context, or perhaps not, or at least no more than some of my twitter posts and discussions with course-mates here on EDC.

I have been reading from the block’s secondary readings and thinking more about ethnography in the digital realm. I’m ready to start pulling together my report.

I’ve added some further videos to my playlist this week, but I can’t get around IFTTT and YouTube, so I’ll have to post them individually as I go, which is an inconvenience. This week’s videos have mostly been about or including virtual reality headsets such as the HTC Vive. One example from China includes the future of shopping. Many communities form around retail experience. I  will take a look at such communities forming in VR sometime next week.

Some of my images have been looking back, perhaps with some nostalgia, over what community was before the internet. With posts I might go back and title “how to community“; “remember when…” and “Is this on the internet of things?” I am enjoying taking time to consider how, after all we claim tech has changed our life, we’re still people, who need to eat, think, be creative and clear snow.

I also have grown to particularly dislike my current blog template (and IFTTT). Having looked at others on the course, my design sensibilities (such as they are) have returned to my blog somewhat offended by the lack of formatting, consistency and all. At this mid-ish-point, I intend to overhaul and extensively tidy my blog next week.

Micro-Ethnography – formation of a community and/or groups

I’ve been participating in the University of Nottingham’s excellent reusable learning objects course, which is actually entitled “Designing E-Learning for Health”.

For my micro-ethnography, I am currently looking at two possible routes.

The first is to take a snapshot of comments from two different stages in the course (beginning and middle, most likely as the course is still underway) and see if it’s possible to attribute each comment in a single activity to a position on  Kozinet’s matrix as I discussed with my blog tutor, James, in the Week 5 round-up.

The course has  also now offered participants a practical challenge. I wonder if it’s possible to look at tracking somehow, the formation of the groups through the comments section of each week. I’m not sure if this will be practical to achieve in the time frame, but I possibly might find that information easy enough to pull together when I’m looking at the Kozinet’s frame work and pulling in some ideas about how the community is forming, its nature and so on.

I also have some ideas about presenting some quantitative information surrounding the discussion analysis in Minecraft, but I’m probably just making a rod for my back. We’ll see how time goes.

Virtual reality, community and story telling

I’ve been busy at work preparing for a practical demonstration and a talk about Virtual Reality. The talk is primarily aimed at Marketing MSc students, but I’ve been able to draw some of it back to this course.

I’ll dissect this set of slides at the weekend, but here’s a video I found particularly compelling from a community perspective. Stories are absolutely essential to the fabric of any community, I argue. Online perhaps more-so.


There’s more on story telling, community and VR to come, but I also have to go back and add some meta data to the most recent Pintrest stream.


Remember where you’ve come from

In examining the recent past, it can help us appreciate what we have now. Appreciating what we have now is important because we should never take our situation for granted. Communities and technologies come and go, but underlying principles remain the same. Whether you have bookmarks or index cards, you still need to know how to find what you’re looking for. Communities surrounding practice also need to record their history. Your motivation to do so will depend on your engagement, and ambitions for that community and your place in it.

Just Pinned to Future: Google google Dewey Decimal System http://ift.tt/2lHj7la

Communities, communication, creation; a song for MSCEDC playlist

There’s a short story called “The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury that fits the themes of block one. A story about… well let’s just say it’s a chilling story about breakdown of family values, set in a world filled with technological marvel that doesn’t seem so far away from where we are today. How the creation of the lyrics came about fits neatly in block two…

Chris James online had picked up the lyrics from the music producer’s Deadmau5’s soundcloud. The music producer’s fans made the artist aware of the “fan” creation via text chat in the stream. That moment is recorded here [NSFW]:
Here are the lyrics that got Deadmau5 so excited:

The world that the children made

Happy life, with the machines
Scattered around the room
Look what they made, they made it for me
Happy technology

Outside, the lions run
Feeding on remains
We’ll never leave, look at us now
So in love with the way we are
The world that the children made
The world that the children made
The world that the children made
The world that the children made
Every night, they rock us to sleep
Digital family
Is it real, or is it a dream?
Can you believe in machines?
Outside, the beating sun
Can you hear the screams?
We’ll never leave, look at us now
So in love with the way we are
The world that the children made
The world that the children made
The world that the children made
The world
And here’s the final music and official video.

It’s well worth reading the story, watching the video of the “eureka” moment, and also watching the final video. The order you do that in is up to you! I hope you enjoy.  Certainly it’s a great set of events. The result is what has now for me at least, transcended from a song I knew, to a very memorable track.

[NSFW] Online Cultures: sharing stigmatic status – “weeabos”

I am not a “weeaboo” but continuing with the collection of notable sub-cultures and communities I’ve encountered on the web over the years, I thought to include something about an online community for which participation requires identifying with a culture entirely different to that which you live in. With apologies to anyone who doesn’t read the NSFW tag as “not safe for work”, this content has profane language, and is presented as dark comedy which may not be to everyone’s liking.  I include it as a stark example of the following quote:

“Because of their online community experiences with others who shared their own stigmatic status, they considered themselves less different, benefited from the increase in self-acceptance, and felt less socially isolated”. Kozinets (2010)

This video encapsulates the above statement on at least two levels

  1. There’s a stigma associated with the YouTube content producer TVFilthyFrank
  2. The subject is about a group of people who benefit from the internet bringing them together, and providing them with the means to enjoy and enforce their cultural norms. (see Kozinets 2010, p28)

However, the YouTube content challenges the acceptance of the “weeabo” culture, and in doing so, draws attention to it, and potentially furthers awareness and draws more people in to it. The language could certainly be seen as derogatory to those participating in the culture. This raises a question about morality online, if online community can form around any subject, is it also fair that any community is open for satire, critique and comment? If the internet is an enabler for creation of community, can it also bring about the reverse for an online community? I also note that the content producer is putting himself up for being laughed at (rather than with) so perhaps there’s some consolation to the weeaboo community there.


Kozinets, R. V. (2010) Chapter 2 ‘Understanding Culture Online’, Netnography: doing ethnographic research online. London: Sage. pp. 21-40.


“Three decades of research have revealed…..”

….. that online gatherings follow many of the same basic rules as groups that gather in person.” ( Kozinets 2010, p25)

People are people. However, anonymity and the ability to switch off (or on) your community at the flick of a switch or at least a few mouse clicks, shows up in some research as being a factor when considering the activity of individuals within the community.

I will take a view on this during my microethnography, however, my experience of online communities suggests that this point will be borne out. I’d be surprised if I find otherwise, particularly with my choice of online course: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/e-learning-health/2/todo/7955.


Kozinets, R. V. (2010) Chapter 2 ‘Understanding Culture Online’, Netnography: doing ethnographic research online. London: Sage. pp. 21-40.

“The web allows people to express themselves”

“The web allows people to express themselves”  (Gauntlet, 2005 in Lister et al, 2009 p.166)

People have been expressing themselves creatively longer than the web has been in existence. Those around us would listen, watch, comment. We would seek out audiences if we were either good enough, or thought we were worthy  of an audience. Perhaps what this means is that we now have a world-wide audience within easy reach.

I’ve always dabbled in music, and because you are on the internet, you can listen to what I have produced. None of it about to win any awards, but it has been an enjoyable (pre-child, pre-MSC) hobby.

Gauntlett, David (2005) Web studies: what’s new?, in David Gauntlett and Ross
Horsley (eds) in Lister, M. … [et al.], (2009) “Chapter 3. Networks, users and economics” from Martin Lister … [et al.], New media: a critical introduction pp.163-236, London: Routledge


“Instead [the internet’s] protean identity is reproduced by a mix of fandom, community, commerce and business, linked by technologies that are both private and publicly owned and variously regulated. In other words the Internet came into existence as the rest of numerous factors, accidents, passions, collisions and tensions. ” (Lister et al, 2009, p.163)



Once upon a time… “numerous factors” included a US Defence agency and education institutions who used a network to communicate.  It was so large, that the directory book of all the users’ addresses amounted to several pages…..

Images sourced from an original copy of the Arpanet Directory circa 1982. It was quite a thing to behold.



Lister, M. … [et al.], (2009) “Chapter 3. Networks, users and economics” from Martin Lister … [et al.], New media: a critical introduction pp.163-236, London: Routledge

Week 3 – Round Up

This week was the first “hangouts”. I enjoyed the session. Too short by far.

My dislike of twitter is growing at about the same rate as my enjoyment of it. So that still leaves me cold.

I decided to get a bit more “visual” with my postings by setting up a Pintrest account. However, I haven’t got it working with IFTTT, so I’ll need to edit out a lot of posts without their image.

I’ve been looking at the issue of cyborgs, AI, robots and jacked-in humans with interest. I used the theme for my artifact. As it was a “low stakes” piece of work, I didn’t quite pull off what I was hoping for with respects to the content, but I enjoyed making it and thinking around what I might do later.

My musical input in to the MSCEDC playlist via twitter was a challenge. I listen to a lot of music, but struggled to find suitable suggestions until this weekend. Once you start thinking about music and the themes, it does become a bit easier.

I created a playlist on YouTube for all the items I’m watching that I think have some merit, and some of those that are not so much, I should be adding meta info against them on my blog too.

I’m thinking more about how this all relates back to education. I suspect I’ll get there by week 10.

Oh, and I failed to do any of this week in VR. I still want to try this. Next week, hopefully….

My Artifact#1 – Do Minecraft avatars dream of voxel sheep?

I “own” a piece of software for a while that I’ve never got to grips with. Today was the day. I had a great time playing with Adobe Premiere. Great fun. I’ll post up a bit more about my thinking behind the actual content of the production later next week, but I’m sure you’ll get the general theme given the wholesale lifting of a trailer from a certain well referenced movie about androids…..

Artifact #1

With apologies to all the sources I stitched together:

Minecraft world: http://www.planetminecraft.com/project/cyberpunk-map-bladecraft/
Minecraft resource pack: http://www.planetminecraft.com/texture_pack/mrshortees-bladecraft-x64-cyberpunk-resource-pack/
Soundtrack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhJ7Mf2Oxs
Images used during the cinema scene via Pintrest: https://uk.pinterest.com/colin9068/future/



Why would anyone write anything if they didn’t intend for their words to change their reader?

I listened to the video below. Certainly it gives a far more digestible account of the writing of Haraway (2007). The youtube content producer Jon Clerk (2014) gives a descriptive account of the article, covering his views on the main themes well. Certainly in more detail than I was initially able to draw out.

I am left wondering though what his thoughts on WHY Harroway wrote the article? What was the point behind creating the article if it was not an attempt to influence the thoughts of others.

The idea that we should embrace our very nature of animal, machine and human makes me wonder if I’ve missed something in Harroway said. If the machine is being programmed with a series of expectations from the cyborg mind. It will not be immune to imperfections of the programmers. There is no steady state implied merely through the act of coding or otherwise instructing a machine. There is genesis, it started somewhere that can be traced. The creation of a cyborg had its roots somewhere that could be called its birth. There is still room for evolution. If the human adapts to its cyborg state, then it could change to become something, but does that change anything. Is it merely that the cyborg has large parts of its human biology removed that makes the ideal for a society that’s free from concern of gender?


Clerk, J (2014)  ‘Donna Haraway’s ‘A Cyborg Manifesto’: A Brief Overview’. Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqglzX_y5wM [online] Accessed: 2nd February.

Hawaray, D. (2000) ‘A cyborg manifesto: Science, technology and social feminist in the late twentieth century’, BELL, D; KENNEDY, B. The Cybercultures reader. London: Routledge, pp. 291-324.


A Cyborg Manifesto

It was like a dream. It maybe is. Perhaps I’ll wake up.

I read “A Cyborg Manifesto”. I say read. It was like my eyes were passing over pages, upon endless pages of text with words that for the most part I understood individually, but put together to form something that was in no way shape or form like anything I have read before. I don’t wish to denigrate the author, I wish I could critique the text I read with some sort of cleverness, but I struggle to get a holistic grasp of the article.

I fell asleep. My chair was comfy. The room was warm.

There are bits that I understood, at least, that I was able to take some meaning from. The idea that a cyborg future could befall us all, a sense of inevitability, and what might lead us there, and what might need to change in order to get there. From the feminist perspective of the article, an outline of the world that has so far created the need for feminism to be considered, and some elements of how technology, and writing about technology, has been influenced by male-dominated culture.

That noise. Outside or in. My sleep was ruptured.

I think I’m probably guessing. I feel like I am guessing at the meaning. But the piece also seems to criticise certain aspects of feminism “We do not need a totality in order to work well. The feminist dream of a common language, like all dreams for a perfectly true language, of perfectly faithful naming of experience, is a totalizing and imperialist one. … perhaps ironically, we can learn from our fusions with animals and machines how not to be Man, the embodiement of Western logos.” (pp 51-52).


I’m looking forward to the tutorial session tomorrow morning to see what others make of this piece of writing. Meanwhile, I’m off to watch some other people talking about this article to see what I missed e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqglzX_y5wM

Hawaray, D. (2007) ‘A cyborg manifesto: Science, technology and social feminist in the late twentieth century’, BELL, D; KENNEDY, B (eds). The Cybercultures reader. London: Routledge, pp. 34-65.

Cyborgs and Week 2’s Film Festival

We are but one step away from becoming cyborgs ourselves. Unlike the guy in the video below, our enhancements are only temporary. I have modified myself with connection to keyboard and screen. I become something I am not born as. But I can, thankfully, extract myself. Much like the lady in the video who leaves her partner, unable to form a bond with the machine that he has become, a warning, that if we spend too much time even in our pre-cyborg state, our social connections will suffer.

For all our specie’s complexity and aspirations toward greatness, without food, sleep, water, warmth and social connection, we’re not much use at all.

The music video was played at the end of the Monday togethertube session I attended.  So it would appear that I can draw on this item from Week 2’s film festival through Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto”.  I just finished work at 22:45, and I’m up at 06:00….. instead of writing this post, I’ll park it, and come back to it. Instead of reading A Cyborg Manifesto, I’ll go set up my Virtual Reality and become a cyborg myself.  Actually, instead of doing any of these things, I’ll get a good night’s sleep and maybe feel more refreshed, and more human, in the morning.

Week 2 – reflections

This week, I *think* I’m starting to get a feel for how the course is working as constructivist activity: We’re learning by “doing” to a certain extent; we’re given relatively minimal guidance whilst still being observed; we’re using community to bolster our understanding; and we’re being asked to reflect on our past experiences with an aim to realisation that what has gone the week before was the correct step.

Reading and commenting on other blog posts has been a great motivator. IFTTT has been demotivating.

I’ve posted about core readings because that gives me some grounding. It is a recognisable action carried on from IDEL assignments and blog posts. There is comfort there. I have blogged about technology, VR particularly, because all this talk of reality, augmentations, cyborgs… and I have it sitting right in front of me. Next week, I will attempt to conduct the entire #MSCEDC activity from within “virtual reality” via my HTC Vive (At least those actions which would normally happen for me on-screen). We’ll see how that goes.

I struggle with the concepts that are put forward in some of the papers. I am a pragmatist learning about post-humanism; semantics; cyborg manifestos (which I’ve yet to read). Part of me doesn’t care as long as I can produce something at the end of it. Part of me is also massively intrigued, at least about my own capacity to understand and decode.

If anyone else has access to a VR device, let me know. Perhaps we could meet up in Altspace.

No available means to edit CSS, or add plugins?

It’s a shame we don’t have more access to our WordPress installation. Part of the “fun” is the plugins!

Also, the CSS. No means to edit the CSS.

The sludgy green colour is not of my choosing.  I stick to this statement no matter how many pairs of trousers I have in my wardrobe that are more-or-less the same hue.


From Twitter, with love… not.

I like when technology works. I like it a lot. But at the moment, this is not working reliably. Subsequently to the tweet below, I now have to enter into each post and setup the IFTTT twitter URL as a link via the WYSIWYG and then update the post. But it only works if you click the WYSIWYG link button and then press submit. Any other click between the two, and the tweet will not embed as this one here:

IFTTT WordPress -> Twitter (and back again….)

Can’t say I’m enjoying using IFTTT at the moment. I’m sure I grasp it. It just lacks enough hooks to make it really versatile. Or perhaps I don’t grasp it, and it requires problem solving on your own. I have made a living largely reliant on not being slow on the uptake when it comes to “new” technology, so I don’t like to be beaten. Turns out that the reason I couldn’t get my tweets to display in a reasonable acceptable aesthetic manner was because of the WordPress template.

Now I’ve sorted that, the IFTTT feed from twitter isn’t updating my blog.

Meanwhile, I’ve added an IFTTT applet which posts “blogpost” category WordPress entries in to Twitter. Which will create a single feedback loop, unless I can find the “If this then NOT that” equivalent…..


Virtual Cinema

A comment on Eli’s blog around this image which I hastily crafted in Photoshop to illustrate my point regarding a sense of nausea induced by movement on-screen that’s either jerky or not within the viewer’s own control:

I ended up watching this piece of youtube content:

What I took note of was the three camera points, which is not uncommon in VR youtube content, but worth pointing out

  1. The “experience” shot, i.e. what is being viewed (in 2D) by the person who is viewing it in 3D within the headset
  2. The headmounted display’s external view, from a camera in or on the device (e.g. the HTC Vive’s built in front-mounted camera)
  3. and a  fixed shot of the play-area

When using VR, we are augmenting our own ability. To see what our normal vision would let us see. But we’re also cutting our own body off from stimulus that we can physically touch. Nevertheless, watching someone using VR, certainly brings to mind thoughts around the organic merged with the physical. It will become normalised. I was recently asked “Do I feel silly wearing it”. The same person tried VR and realised how “feeling silly” just doesn’t come in to it. Assuming VR is not a passing tech fad, and Gartner (http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3412017) would have VR placed on the “slope of enlightenment” having passed through the “trough of disillusionment” already, that’s got to suggest that it will become more mainstream than it is perceived currently. I wonder if anyone looking at the video and thinking the person looks silly perhaps has not yet tried this form of VR and can’t project themselves in to that person’s position.


Base Image sources:

Occulus Cinema : http://tinyurl.com/zgbfutw

Screenshot taken from “Eli’s EDC Blog” : http://www.eliapplebydonald.co.uk/course_work/week%202/week%202_player.html

Ninefox Gambit [spoilers] and Embodied Virtuality

I not long ago finished a book I was gifted at Christmas time. “Ninefox Gambit” by Yoon Ha Lee (2016) . I really enjoyed it, nice and short, fast paced and an interesting, alien culture. I tend to read a lot more books at this time of year. When it’s dark, cold and wet outside, and you’ve just got back in from a surprise snow storm during your dog’s evening walk, the fire is burning and the comfy sofa awaits…. There are spoilers in this post so please do look away now if you plan to read this book and do not like to know the ending before you start.

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“Where is Internet Studies?”

I was strangely disappointed to find out that this title by Silver (2006) wasn’t a plaintiff cry for something that didn’t exist, but rather a call to map the progress of the discipline at that time. I wonder if, ten years on, much has changed?

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Can you decide what a normal day is, never mind a normal life ….. ?

My colleague, Thusha Rajendran, presenting at a TEDx event recently. He’s very tech-orientated, like myself. One of his arguments is that we should not be so quick to decide on a level of what is “normal” as humanity needs us all to understand what we are if we are to ever reach our full potential.

Continue reading “Can you decide what a normal day is, never mind a normal life ….. ?”