Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Review of goals

Here are your responses to these questions at the start of the term:

Besides a good grade, what do you really hope to gain from this class?

A great experience / A greater understanding of language within technology and its overall application. some insight as to how communication has and is evolving. / I learned a lot of things I didn't know I was going to learn from your previously taken courses. So I guess those are the things I am looking forward to most. / I hope to gain a greater understanding of language and its role within society, and how it is incorporated into technology and culture. / I just hope to use what I know and expand. / I like being a Swiss Army knife, the ability to do anything. / A new outlook on language and technology."

Complete this sentence: "At the end of the semester, I will think this class was worth my time and effort and tuition if ..."

"I have learned a lot and enjoyed it I am more informed, and have more applicable skills. / I understand what communication skills are needed in real world jobs today and in the near future. / I learn at least 4 or 5 new things. / I feel like I have a greater understanding of the topic presented, and also have applicable skills and knowledge that I did not have before. / I have gained skills I can utilize to construct a portfolio. / I have a project that I can put into my portfolio. / i learn what is efficient in language with text. / I am able to adequately use technology I never knew I could, and if I had a fun."

Audio projects

Here are the final versions of the class audio projects (radio-edited versions):

"iPod of Discord," by Todd Hartsfield, Alyssa Blanton, Erin Kelley, Sarah Robison-Mathes, and Laura Velarde

Hansel and Gretel, by Dom Ramunno-Johnson, Joshua Lovejoy, Anaya Martella, Joshua Roberts and Lindsey Esch

Lisa Strata, by Jennifer Wheeler, Heather Martin, Chad McClure and Alan Olson.

"Three Pigs," by Mary Liu, Jacob Burton, Sandi Oja, Zak Steltz and Cassie Watson.

Students helping students. ... What can you do?

Video produced by Michael Wesch, a national professor of the year, and students of Kansas State:

"Created by the Spring 2010 Class of Digital Ethnography to get the word out about K-State Proud, an organization that helps students help students."

Futuristic technologies destined to change our communication

Our classroom survey of communication technologies to watch in the near future:

A digital palette, from Laura Velarde:

Virtuo, Future Digital Art Device! I think this technology will open up another media for art and artists alike.

3D screens:

From Jennifer Wheeler:

Realistic visualization revolutionizes how we see the world. 3D without glasses by 2012.

And <b>from Mary Lui:</b>

Think holograms are just found in Star Trek?Not anymore. Sony's 3D 360 degree hologram may one day bring them into our living room! #wsuvltt

Sony 3D 360 degree holograms:

From Heather Martin:

I think this is really interesting since Lady Gaga is a bit of a controversial figure when it comes to the intersection of fashion, art and technology. She is hyper aware of media and producing a product for her consumers. These glasses are a new level of what technology can be. It seems like something the retro-futurism also promised coming to life (I still want my hoverboard). People may scoff at the idea but it is a really cool concept. Plus, she is reinterpreting the classic Americana of Polaroid into something cutting edge. It reminds of images I've seen of Tokyo with digital displays creating ever-changing environments. Which is also essentially what her concerts (and other artists like Muse) do, creating stories with visuals.!5727236/how-lady-gaga-just-reinvented-eye-contact

Look past the thin surface of this video promo piece for mixed reality, and what do you see?

Or this version:

Augmented (hyper)Reality: Domestic Robocop from Keiichi Matsuda on Vimeo.

And this sort of research is being done at the University of Washington, by Babak Parviz, with computer-enhanced contact lenses:

An invisibility cloak, from Sandi Oja:

This is an invisible cloak constructed of man made materials.
How does communication change if the person talking is "invisible"?
How does it change if you are talking to or about a person that is "invisible"?

<b>From Anaya Martella:</b>

I’m not sure if this constitutes as something people will eventually like to “watch”
but I have heard graphic novels are starting to go digital. I’d expect if there were no
words it could be understood in different cultures who speak different languages. They
sort of remind me of the project we did on comics in class that had no text. Graphic
novels can have text or not.

From Todd Hartsfield:

It’s cool to think that forty years ago the first ATMs were used. Today banks rely heavily on these machines to manage their large customer transaction needs. Today they are branching out the capabilities by even depositing checks by taking a picture of it with a smartphone! Will these machines have all these fancy gadgets to them or will cell phones dominate the need for ATMs. This brings another question to mind, will printed money go away?

From Sarah Robison-Mathes

It'll be interesting to see what new technologies develop for using renewable resources like wind and sun.

From Jacob Burton:

One of the most important pieces of new technology has been the invention of a wireless USB Drive.  Many of us use USBs, but this is a great product because of the fact that it is nearly universal, and will allow for more information to be shared.  This invention, which for now doesn't allow networking, could allow it in the near future.

From Alan Olson:

For future technologies I found an article about Datoos, it is a future technology in which tattoos will be used as mobile communication devices that run directly from your body. The Datoos will be removable and customizable and will run off of body heat and possibly blood sugar. The tattoos will be connected directly to your nervous system and will be instantly accesible with your thoughts. I am sure this technology is a long way off in the future but it reminded me of the MOvie predator and how the alien had equipment connected directly to his body.

Here is the link

From: Dom Ramunno-Johnson robotic retina restores vision to the blind! robotic retina restores vision to the blind!

Free hugs!

The web site

From the creator, Juan Mann:

"I'd been living in London when my world turned upside down and I'd had to come home. By the time my plane landed back in Sydney, all I had left was a carry on bag full of clothes and a world of troubles. No one to welcome me back, no place to call home. I was a tourist in my hometown.

Standing there in the arrivals terminal, watching other passengers meeting their waiting friends and family, with open arms and smiling faces, hugging and laughing together, I wanted someone out there to be waiting for me. To be happy to see me. To smile at me. To hug me.

So I got some cardboard and a marker and made a sign. I found the busiest pedestrian intersection in the city and held that sign aloft, with the words "Free Hugs" on both sides.

And for 15 minutes, people just stared right through me. The first person who stopped, tapped me on the shoulder and told me how her dog had just died that morning. How that morning had been the one year anniversary of her only daughter dying in a car accident. How what she needed now, when she felt most alone in the world, was a hug. I got down on one knee, we put our arms around each other and when we parted, she was smiling.

Everyone has problems and for sure mine haven't compared. But to see someone who was once frowning, smile even for a moment, is worth it every time."

And the video (nearly 70 million views):

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Digital justice?

A local man, who broke the law by illegally taking his truck onto public land, sentenced to ... create a YouTube video:

The Eyeborg Project

Here's the blurb from the Eyeborg web site:

"Take a one eyed film maker, an unemployed engineer, and a vision for something that’s never been done before and you have yourself the EyeBorg Project. Rob Spence and Kosta Grammatis are trying to make history by embedding a video camera and a transmitter in a prosthetic eye. That eye is going in Robs eye socket, and will record the world from a perspective that’s never been seen before."

Several links on the site to media coverage of the project.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

FCC content compliance

For the public presentations of our audio pieces, including posting on the class blog and playing these during class, please follow FCC guidelines for appropriate public content. For a humorous look at this issue, here is a clip of George Carlin talking about the seven words you can't say on the public airwaves (warning, this video is flagged for "obscene" language):

The unedited versions of your audio pieces can be submitted for assessment, and, of course, used any other way you want. Yet this public portion of the exercise is an opportunity to work within the national rules of content distribution.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Remediation samples from the group work

Lysistrata script by, WM Leslie Howard

Three Little Pigs by Jon Fawkes

Hansel and Gretel by

Hansel & Gretel by metro-boulot-dodo

The Apple of Discord

Another extra credit option: Balsamo lecture

For 10 points extra credit: Attend the following event; participate in the event (ask a question; respond to a question, whatever is appropriate) and then write a 500-word essay about a point raised in this lecture and your thorough response to it (then email it to by 6 p.m. April 20).

"Highlighting faculty and student research, scholarship and artistic expression

The Creative Media and Digital Culture in Liberal Arts invited speaker will be Dr. Anne Balsamo, Professor in the University of California School Of Cinematic Arts.

Dr. Balsamo's work focuses on the relationship between the culture and technology. This focus informs her practice as a scholar, researcher, new media designer and entrepreneur. She is currently a Professor of Interactive Media in the School of Cinematic Arts, and of Communications in the Annenberg School of Communications. From 2004-2007, she served as the Director of the Institute for Multimedia Literacy. In 2002, she co-founded Onomy Labs, Inc. a Silicon Valley technology design and fabrication company that builds cultural technologies. Previously she was a member of RED (Research on Experimental Documents), a collaborative research group at Xerox PARC who created experimental reading devices and new media genres. She served as project manager and new media designer for the development of RED's interactive museum exhibit, XFR: Experiments in the Future of Reading.

Dr. Balsamo will be delivering a presentation titled, “Designing Culture: The technological Imagination at Work”."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rapunzel remediated

Tangled (Disney's latest fairy tale remediation)

The Blonde Years (low budget)

Barbie as Rapunzel (Light)

Brothers Grimm (Dark)

And so on. ...

Another extra credit option - audio editing demo

If you know the base-level audio editing programs well (Audacity / Garage Band), here is a chance to earn a few points of extra credit. A peppy, thorough and engaging 5 minute demo on either program is worth 5 extra credit points. First email I get on either claims the opportunity. I would like these to be done by two different people, unless there is only one person interested (and that person wants to do both). These demos will be part of the April 20th class. Any takers?

Atomic Tom: "Take Me Out"


John Oswald's The Pretender

Hear it for yourself:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Another extra credit option

Wired for Change ...

"Kansas State's Digital Ethnography Project & the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University invites you to create a short remix video with material from the Wired for Change event that shows what you think about digital culture & Internet rights. Enter your video & get a chance to win a free trip to next year's conference!"

If you are interested in giving this a try, let me know, and we can talk about extra credit points.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pocahontas / Avatar

A mashup video by Randy Szuch:

Electronic Behavior Control System

Electronic Behavior Control System (clip mentioned in the Remediation article):

And the Slap Chop

T-Pain and the news ...


Hindenburg coverage with/out sound

Without sound:

With sound:

Audio remediation examples

Crazy Dog Audio Theater
(Including this helpful piece on the basics of writing for audio theater)


Radio Drama Revival

The largest broadcasting company in the world, The BBC, still invests heavily in audio theater. Some of the best modern pieces are coming from here. There are three channels producing this kind of work:

BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4 generally offer drama and more serious fare.

While BBC Radio 7 offers sci-fi and comedy as well as other miscellaneous programs.

The Wireless Theatre Company

Example 1 from WTC (banter, character development and sound effects, including silence): The Importance of Shoes

Example 2 from WTC (language and communication): Laying Ghosts

Example 3 from WTC (framing): The Fun Tom Menace

L.A. Theatre Works (We heard a clip from its version of "Pygmalion")

Many samples of L.A. Theatre Works plays on this site, including the Tony Award-winning play "Art" by Yasmina Reza.

The Mercury Theatre (Orson Welles's troupe, which created the infamous "War of the Worlds" broadcast

From the Rick Emerson side project, "A.Z.," an action piece about when zombies take over the world,

Episode 6: "No Mercy"

And a big list of all sorts of radio theater on the Web

Japan quake map

A great example of the blending of technology, communication and cartography

Japan quake map

via Jennifer Wheeler

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Explanation of copyright and fair use for our audio projects

There is a thorough explanation of copyright and fair use here, at Stanford University libraries, which includes this passage:

"The term "public domain" refers to creative materials that are not protected by intellectual property laws such as copyright, trademark or patent laws. The public owns these works, not an individual author or artist. Anyone can use a public domain work without obtaining permission, but no one can ever own it.

An important wrinkle to understand about public domain material is that collections of it may be protected by copyright. If, for example, someone has collected public domain images in a book or at a website, the collection as a whole may be protectible, even though individual images are not protected. You are free to copy and use individual images but copying and distributing the complete collection may infringe what is known as the "collective works" copyright. Collections of public domain material will be protected if the person who created it has used creativity in the choices and organization of the public domain material. This usually involves some unique selection process, for example, a poetry scholar compiling a book, The Greatest Poems of e.e. cummings.

There are four common ways that works arrive in the public domain:

expiration of copyright: the copyright has expired.
failure to renew copyright: the owner failed to follow copyright renewal rules.
dedication: the owner deliberately places it in the public domain.
no copyright protection available: copyright law does not protect this type of work.

Let's look at each of these routes into the public domain more closely.

1. Expired Copyright

Copyright has expired for all works published in the United States before 1923. In other words, if the work was published in the U.S. before January 1, 1923, you are free to use it in the U.S. without permission. As an example, the graphic illustration of the man with mustache was published sometime in the 19th Century and is in the public domain, so no permission is required to include it within this book. These rules and dates apply regardless of whether the work was created by an individual author, a group of authors or by an employee (the latter sometimes referred to as a "work made for hire.")

Because of legislation passed in 1998, no new works will fall into the public domain until 2019 when works published in 1923 will expire. In 2020, works published in 1924 will expire and so forth. If a work was written by a single author and published after 1977, the copyright will not expire until 70 years after the author's death. If a work was written by several authors and published after 1977, it will not expire until 70 years after the last surviving author dies. ..."

And so on. If you have questions about a specific work, please let me know.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Research poster resources

When working on your research poster, start with these guidelines and judging criteria in mind. Those should guide your design decisions, based on the content you have to support them.

Here are some (of the many) helpful poster design resources available on the web:

Stanford  -- "Posters and displays are specialized communications that demand careful planning and design to assure that your audience will understand your project and results."

Swarthmore College This site includes a poster gallery on Flickr and various other visual examples, plus numerous handy links. I also like the irreverent voice in which the author writes about the poster sharing process.

University of Buffalo site has many links and a straightforward explanation of the process.

The Cain Project, at Rice University, also is well done.

University of Kansas -- Outdated design and interface, but the information could be helpful.

University of Guelph -- A Canadian perspective.

Dartmouth -- A web presentation of a lecture on this topic.

Here is one recommended by the WSUV Research Showcase site, too, from Duke

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Best practices for survey creation and administration

Since all of you are planning to conduct surveys, this document could be helpful:

The American Association for Public Opinion Research best practices

 "The quality of a survey is best judged not by its size, scope, or prominence, but by how much attention is given to [preventing, measuring, and] dealing with the many important problems that can arise."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The happiest man in America?

That is what "research" by Gallup / The New York Times states. What do you think?

From The Huffington Post:

"The Times selected Mr. Wong after asking Gallup, which interviews thousands of Americans to create the index, what the demographic make-up of the happiest person in America might look like.

Their answer:

[H]e's a tall, Asian-American, observant Jew who is at least 65 and married, has children, lives in Hawaii, runs his own business and has a household income of more than $120,000 a year."

The original New York Times story

Gallup's data on "well being," with methodology at the bottom

An overview of the Well-Being Movement, to measure the health and success of countries and states around the world

Here is another way to think about these kinds of ideas: The Triple Bottom Line, or an accounting system that tallies profits but also environmental and social costs.

Courtesy of

As Paul Harvey would say, and now, the rest of the story ...

The Story of Stuff 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Arial or Helvetica?

As a follow-up to "Futura," I thought you might find it interesting to ponder the implications of another ubiquitous font: Helvetica.

There is an entertaining documentary about this font in the history of typography (available through the local library system). This typeface might look familiar, because of Arial, the primary typeface of Microsoft, a slightly altered version of Helvetica.

Here is a chart, courtesy of, showing how minutely they differ:

Here is a quiz to see if you can tell them apart.

And one more ... for the most devoted of typography fans.

If you take either of those, post here how you did.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Research poster templates

When it comes time to create your research poster, it might be helpful to have a template for a 36X48-inch file. So here are a few sites that have those, in different formats, depending on what you want to build the poster in:

General tips from University of North Carolina



A collection of formats


There are many, many other options available. ... If you find a helpful template site, please put the URL into the comments here, so your classmates can check those out, too. Thanks!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another example of language = power

Rolling Stone magazine's expose on the U.S. Army "ordering a team of soldiers specializing in 'psychological operations' to manipulate visiting American senators into providing more troops and funding for the (Afghanistan) war."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

AR games blending with film

This Ogmento piece is funded by Paramount Digital Entertainment, with what appears to be a large budget, or at least a film quality trailer:

Paranormal Activity: Sanctuary from Ogmento on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Portland Center Stage - March 2

Portland Center Stage is the largest professional theater company in the area. Our class will meet there for "Futura," a world premiere production about typography, an experience that substitutes for the campus class that night. Attendance will be taken. Other information about this particular extension of the classroom is here. And here.

Directions to the theater are here. Basically, if you park near the downtown Portland Powell's, you easily can walk to the theater. I always park in the Whole Foods parking garage, just past Powell's, a couple of blocks into the Pearl District. You will need to provide your own transportation, or carpool, and pay for parking.

Any other questions about this experience?

Whopper freakout commercial

This web ad simulates "research," sort of ...

Domino's Pizza web ad takes the transparency theme a step further, sort of ...

The follow-up with customers:

Monday, February 21, 2011

2011 WSU Vancouver Research Showcase website

Has just been launched. The site is here.

Lots of important information there to explore, including the deadline for the abstract submissions: 5 p.m. March 2.

The showcase is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 14.

Abstract submission link is here

There are a couple of summaries here about abstract writing, and the submission guidelines

Any questions, please let me know ...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What is a "peer-reviewed" scholarly journal? What is APA style?

For those who are confused about the "peer-reviewed" designation, here is a brief summary on the distinction from Cal-Poly's Robert E. Kennedy Library that could be helpful.

Here is a helpful chart and more description, from the University of Maryland

What is APA (American Psychological Association) style? The most common citation style in journals in the social sciences. Here is a helpful resource site from Purdue's Online Writing Lab.

Any specific questions, please let me know. ...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Futura update

Your wish has been granted, Aaron Draplin will talk after the Futura performance on March 2:

Here is the press release:

"Futura Bold - Typography's Underdog That Will Never Let You Down, with Aaron Draplin, March 2nd following the 7:30pm performance - FREE.

Join Aaron as he riffs on the ubiquity of Futura Bold, and how its time-tested legibility and pure functionality reduced it down to the font of instruction manuals and throw away items. And that's why he loves it. Futura got the job done time and time again, overlooked by flashier fonts and forms.

Bio: Located in the mighty Pacific Northwest, the Draplin Design Co. proudly rolls up its sleeves on a number of projects related to the Print, Identity, Web Development, Illustration and Gocco Muscle categories. We make stuff for Coal Headwear, Union Binding Co., Richmond Fontaine, Field Notes, Esquire, Nike, Wired, Timberline, Chunklet, Incase, Giro, Cobra Dogs, Burton Snowboards, Hughes Entertainment, MTV, Chuck Prophet and even the Obama Administration, if you can believe that. We pride ourselves on a high level of craftsmanship and quality that keeps us up late into the wet Portland night."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Examples of everyday mainstream research (and its flaws)

Smart phones foster dumb habits among pedestrians

This piece was published in a variety of places, via the Associated Press

World's most livable city is: Vancouver (B.C.)

According to Reuters and the Economic Intelligence Unit

World's least livable city is: Harare, Zimbabwe
According to Reuters and the Economic Intelligence Unit

Vancouver (WA!): One of the nation's most romantic cities?

Columbian story on romance rating of Vancouver

Washington: The most "blackest" name in America?

Associated Press article, using census data and reporting

"Best-value" colleges, according to The Princeton Review:

In a partnership with USA Today

What do college rankings really tell us?

"The Order of Things," by Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker. (This is a subscription-only article in The New Yorker, so I will bring a copy of the full article to class for those who don't have a subscription).

Books of the future ... are here

This is just the beginning, I think, of what "books" can do with new technologies:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Research tools

I recommend starting your research with Google Scholar. Be sure to change your scholar preferences, and add the WSU library system, to get direct access to pdfs of the articles.

Google Scholar also allows importing citations directly into a bibliographic manager, such as EndNote, which is what I use.

A great open source option for that is Zotero, but Zotero imports citations directly in the browser, as opposed to through Google Scholar.

My research site on mobile is:

Hope that helps!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl commercials worth examining


Budweiser "Wild West"

Best Buy "Buy Back"

Chevy "Facebook car"

NFL fans


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Merry / Happy Groundhog Day!

"No shadow, spring is near!"

Oh, wait, Punxsutawney Phil only has been right 39 percent of the time in his predictions, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

Well, at least all of this fuss isn't about a marmot.

Oh, wait, Alaska ...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The recently announced words of the year

There are other groups that do this, too, but here is a sampling:

From the American Dialect Society: App

From the press release:

"App has been around for ages, but with millions of dollars of marketing muscle
behind the slogan ‘There’s an app for that,’ plus the arrival of ‘app stores’ for a wide
spectrum of operating systems for phones and computers, app really exploded in the last 12
months,” (Ben Zimmer, chair of the New Words Committee of the
American Dialect Society and executive producer of said. “One of the most convincing arguments from the voting floor was from a woman who said that even her grandmother had heard of it.”
Word of the Year is interpreted in its broader sense as “vocabulary item”—not just
words but phrases. The words or phrases do not have to be brand-new, but they have to be
newly prominent or notable in the past year, in the manner of Time magazine’s Person of
the Year.

From the Global Language Monitor: Spillcam

"The BP Spillcam instantly beamed the immensity of the Gulf Spill around the world to the dismay of environmentalists, BP’s PR staff and the President."

From Urban Dictionary: Gate Rape

"The TSA airport screening procedure.
My sister got gate raped at LAX."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Message in bottle story

Courtesy of the Associated Press

Here is a link to one of the many versions of this story spread throughout the country via the Associated Press.

See if you can decode it yourself, via the Caesar cipher.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

David Sedaris' piece on language across cultures

This commentary, "Six to Eight Black Men," was written originally for Esquire magazine. Here is what is billed as David Sedaris' old MySpace page and an audio version, with Sedaris reading the work.

Language / translation resources

There is a list of helpful web sites on this class blog, in the right-hand column. But here are two more key sources of information about languages that might be helpful:

Ethnologue - encyclopedic source on the 6,909 languages of the world

Foundation for Endangered Languages manifesto -- an FAQ about languages in the world today

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent

Recently ran across this documentary, which has a lot of fascinating insights into language.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blood libel? ...

Listen carefully to the language use in this response to the recent Arizona assassinations:

Sarah Palin: "America's Enduring Strength" from Sarah Palin on Vimeo.

And compare to this:

And this:

And this piece on the history of the phrase "blood libel" from

And this editorial from the Washington Times, which adds "pogrom" to the mix.