Final Digital Project: Part Two

For my Computer Information Systems 3810 final digital project, I used a program at Storify ( in order to create a digital story compiled of tweets, pictures, videos and commentary.  The focus of the digital story was the New York Knickerbockers during their post season pursuit of the National Basketball Association championship.  I  chronicled the New York Knickerbockers, the #7 seed, through their first round NBA Eastern Conference Playoff Series against the #2 seed Miami Heat.

My story covers games 4 and 5 of the Knicks-Heat playoff series.  A good writer should know a lead when it appears, but I dropped the ‘ball’ on this possession.    I didn’t even come up with the idea to create a digital story following the Knicks.  My input was that I like sports.  Credit for this idea goes to Professor Mikhail Gershovich and Dr. Luke Waltzer.   When I picked up the lead on making this story the series had already proceeded through 3 games with Miami leading 3-0.  Initially, I was to cover the game 4 match-up using combinations of tweets from Twitter, pictures from websites (like Google, Instagram, Flickr), and videos from YouTube.  Once the Knicks physically stepped up (Rise Up) and won the game, I was allowed to continue tracking the digital dialog of New York’s travails for the rest of the series.

I appreciate the Storify format of revealing a story using tweets, images and writing.  It presents a stage where any user becomes the author of published material.  Once you decide on your topic, find supportive information using tweets or pictures, and arrange the text in a likable order-press publish!  It compliments the ability of online creativity in an organized manner, while lending credibility to the productive usefulness of the internet.  I have now contributed my ‘five minutes of game’ to the millions of human thought hours of  cognitive surplus.

I hope you like it.  Thanks.

Click here to view project

Final Digital Project: Part One

For my final project I will use the qualified capabilities of  online messages in order to report on the relevant topics of the current season.  I will specifically rely on the unique resource of instant messaging to produce a different perspective on an interesting topic.  It is not something that I came up with on my own.  I would not have even thought to do something of this type.  I thank Professor Gershovich and Mr. Luke Waltzer for helping me to come up with an idea for my final digital project.

My final digital project involves something that I find interesting.  It involves sports.  I don’ t get to follow sports as much as I used to, on a day-to-day basis.  Between school full time and studying for classes, including finals, the time literally runs away.  However,  through the use of a growing business, I have been introduced to a different perspective on sports.  The venue is not new to me, but the method of implementing the process is brand new.

My final paper has not been started yet.  While I find the idea of another report daunting, it is what it is.  At least it has something to do with sports, which I still like.  The point is to find something that you like and work on it.  If you find it interesting, then it won’t be considered work.  I just hope that the information is not too outdated by the due date.

Spring Break and Cognitive Surplus

Spring.  The time when thoughts turn to warmer weather, shedding layers of confining garments and nature’s decorating beautification.  Spring Break.  The time of the school year when thoughts turn to everything and anything but school.  College students become giddy with excitement while anticipating their final class before the textbooks are thrown in the corner and their fantasy trip becomes the end-of -all-preconceived reality.  Trips are taken to exotic locations where bodies are bared, strong beverages are consumed, medicinal plants are deleafed and inhaled, and time becomes oblivious except to the next desire.  Cognitive Surplus?  It’s everywhere!

My spring break was nothing to write home about.  Why?  Because I didn’t go away.  I was not so fortunate enough to have fled the scene of normality for the dream scene of hot bodies and sunscreen.  My fantasy was served by the fact that there was no classes for the week.  The only cold ones I knocked back were cold showers.  That does not mean that I didn’t go anywhere.  I went somewhere: to the same place I’ve been going for the previous two and a half months prior, to Baruch.  Everyday, except for two, found me halfheartedly yet fully committed to a book, computer or notes.  Cognitive Surplus?  It’s anywhere!

You see, whether you are having the time of your (presumably) young life roaming the unique, picturesque locale of a foreign destination, national or international, or you are locked into the everyday, mundane routine of’ ‘Work, Home, Repeat’, there is the connection to cognitive surplus.  The few, the crowds, the extreme of us who found enjoyment in mass organizations of  half-naked ‘citizens’, indulging in countless beach-side/poolside contests livened up with loud, thumping music were, uncaringly, contributing to a form of constructive use of creativity, collectively shared by hundreds of thousands nationally and millions internationally.  In the meantime, majority of society as a whole was consumed by the bustle of workforce traffic, crowded sidewalks, crappy coffee and time ticking towards the bosses deadline.  Yet,  we are also, unrewardedly, contributing to the creative surplus of Fortune 500 companies, Mom-and-Pop shops and the GNP of whichever country we call home.  As Clay Shirky commented “The enormous choices are collective ones, an accumulation of those tiny choices by the millions; the cumulative shift toward participation across a whole population….” (“Cognitive Surplus” 11-12).

So whether your spring break was the stuff of dreams, or the continuing saga of reality, you have contributed to shaping constructive thought hours.  I guess that Spring Break did the World some good after all.

Commentary on ‘Journalism and the Internet’

I agree with John MacArthur about print advertisements compared to online advertising.  I find that print ads are available, clearly presented, and visible.  The  action of the intended point is controlled in the image-a still photo-and after you browse it you simply turn the page and move on.  Online  ads are not as simple.  The movement, the attention grab factor, the continuous play-either in replay or new varying catagories-makes for an un-appealing situation (for me).  As for moving on to other sites, it is nearly impossible!  There are pop-ups before the website appears, pop-ups after the site appears, sometime 3-4 moving ‘commercials’ at once. Not even TV can do that!  I relate more to print ads because I  can control the medium, print, more.  That way, if the marketing has its effect on me, I will remember it more.  The rate at which online advertising flows does not allow for much more than a moment of memory impact (for me) before-purposely yet aimlessly-rehashing the same trend with the next product.  It makes for a distracting time online.

I like the idea of free content, within reason.  I find that the internet allows an ability to find the necessary content you are searching for in a short time frame with less hassle and multiple resources available simultaneously.  I also respect the copyright privilege that some publishers and authors seek.  If I were the author producing works for sale, I would be angered by the availability of my work online without permission.  However, I should not have to pay for everything that I search online.  If each time someone researched a topic for a course paper (college/highschool/?junior high) they had to pay a fee for the service, there would be a lot less use of online services.

Finally, I agree that writing is work.  Writing is hard work. Not manual labor hard, nor giving birth labor hard, but mentally hard.  For instance, with four papers to write this past week-including three for this CIS course, there was not much time to study for a finance test immediately after today’s class.  This is not a adequate reason (excuse) to upload the material on a website and use a paywall as access for each ‘hit’ on the site.  On the other hand,  if you are talented, creative, and produce important or marketable information, you are within your rights to charge whatever price you want.  I won’t be buying.

Formerly The Road Less Traveled

The idea that Mass Media remains a “One -way access ‘street’, with major network broadcasting companies as traffic agents and crossing guards controlling pedestrian (audience) access” has come to an end.  The creation of interactive media, including the Internet, Cable and Satellite TV, Satellite/HD Radio, i-Pads, Smartphones and the numerous venues summarily made available from these outlets have forced the Major Media companies to redirect its traffic pattern.

This idea that all media is now open to everyone is not exactly a novel approach.  Take newspapers as an example.  We all know of  The Daily News, The New York Post, Newsday, The New York Times, and in finance, The Wall Street Journal.  Yet at every midtown newsstand there are a multitude of  print media, including, locally, The New York Amsterdam News, The Final Call (Nation of Islam paper), The Queens Courier as well as many small, foreign print publications  vying for the attention of commuters.  I have read The Queens Courier before and, while most of its articles cover issues central to Queens residents, they write about the major happenings in NYC.  Not only do they relate stories that are not covered by the major publications,  they attempt to keep the personal biases out of  reporting.

On an individual level, the ability of the ordinary citizen consumer to make public his/her information has grown by leaps and bounds.  The internet allows foreign correspondents to record live reports from dangerous locations like Iraq and Afghanistan during the gulf war, civil uprisings in Libya, Egypt and Syria as well as first hand comments from locals caught in the battle.  A good example is Sohaib Athar.  Better recognized by the twitter handle @ReallyVirtual, he is world famous for, unknowingly, tweeting live the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound.  For “An IT consultant taking a break from the rat race by hiding in the mountains with his laptops”, he now has over 73,000 followers.  Instant media messaging at its best!  I can’t help but wonder how many were following before he text messaged history.

On the personal level, I have the ability to broadcast this blog through creative commons.  Looking at the amount of topics circulating around the world wide web and the correspondance generated between parties, there is a fanbase with my name (presumably, somewhere out there) just waiting to be “loaded up and driven towards ‘Infotainment’.”    I have not employed it yet, but the important idea is that I have the ability.  We all do.  This means that we now have access to what was ‘Formerly the Road Less Traveled.’

‘Eyz had maed Cheezburger’

I will begin by saying that some of these captioned images are funny.  Folks can be quite creative in their use of free time.  I’ll give you that.  To go further, yes- the animals are cute.  I like animals.  I really do.  Yet, I do not think that this was a central idea supporting the term cognitive surplus.  I think that people can choose to do what they want, because they are responsible for the consequences, but (on my own) I would consider this more as me waisting cognitive surplus.  It has its time and place and even value.  I just don’ have the time or the place with which to value it.

That being typed, I haz rooled wit da puunchz !


Individual Cognitive Surplus

     Clay Shirky’s introduction of cognitive surplus is very informative.  The comparison of 100 million human thought hours in Wikipedia versus 200 billion hours watching Television is absurdly disturbing.  I have read one or two Wikipedia articles, outside of Will Smith in class, and I have never edited any articles so I would consider that no contribution towards those human thought hours.  On the other hand, I have definitely boosted TV’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) use over the years.  Still, I can associate personally with the idea of cognitive surplus.

     Since June 2009, when the U.S. Government implemented the switch of the Television signal broadcast from analog-to-digital conversion, I let go of Television.  I have seen some TV since that time, but it’s been consequential, like at the laundromat, the barbershop or at my previous job.  It has been a literal blessing in disguise.  My cognitive surplus, especially at home, has increased by an effective amount.  I am still in awe over how much I was enamored over ‘nothing’.  I can remember being tired after watching so much TV, not doing anything but watching.

Now I feel better physically and my thinking and concentration has improved.  The amount of time, free time, available for creative use like studying for school has materialized from out of the blue.  Like today for instance.  I woke up, I did my exercises, finished reading chapter 2 of Shirky’s Cognitive Surplus, ran to the barbershop for a trim and ran back, washed up, wrote this blog out on notebook paper and the time is only 12:42 p.m.  Honestly, I feel like this used more time than it actually did.

I occasionally miss sports.  I have not seen a Super Bowl since the digital conversion, but I don’t feel like I missed anything.  As I appreciate the need for study and preparation for school, I relish this abundance of time.  This is my version of cognitive surplus.

P.S.: Maybe my abundance of cognitive surplus is affecting me more than I realize: I forgot to give this blog a title.

How To…Change a Flat Tire

Good day, everyone.  How are all my classmates doing?  This tutorial is a lesson on how to change a flat tire.  For most of you, this may be as simple as:

  1. Pull over and park vehicle safely.
  2. Turn on hazard lights (four-way flashers).
  3. ‘Call Triple A’ (probably on speed dial).

However, for those of us who don’t have the patience, or the deep pockets, to wait two hours for a half-hour task, this is a simple guide to getting you back on the road faster than you can say”What tha H#!! is taking that tow truck driver so long?

  1. If you are driving and a tire goes flat, grasp the steering wheel with both hands, slow down and pull over to the side of the road. This should be flat, level road.   Be sure that there is ample safe space between your vehicle and moving traffic.
  2. Turn on hazard lights (four-way flashers), and turn off engine.
  3. Important: Set Your Parking Brakes!  The last thing you want is for the vehicle to start rolling away, especially when you have exited it.
  4. Remove spare tire, lift jack and tire iron from the trunk.
  5. Set the lift jack in the appropriate car lift space nearest to the flat tire, but do not jack up the vehicle.
  6. Loosen all tire lugs using the tire iron.  Ladies, this may take lots of elbow grease…but men keep grease under their fingernails specifically for this purpose!
  7. Now, use the car jack (not robbery) to lift the vehicle to a height where the flat tire is off the ground.  The reason this is done after loosening all tire lugs is because the lugs are tight on the tire.  Removing them with the tire in the air is difficult and will only turn the tire, not loosen the lugs.
  8. Remove all the lugs and remove the flat tire.
  9. Place the spare tire on the vehicle.  Replace the lugs on their bolts by hand and tighten.  The correct way to do this is to tighten every other lug until all lugs have been tightened.
  10. Lower the vehicle using the lift jack.  When the vehicle is down and the tire is contacting the ground, make sure you re-tighten each lug so that they hold the tire securely in place.  Replace flat tire, lift jack and tire iron in the trunk.

There you have it .  Faster than I can type a 140 character message on Twitter, you have changed a flat tire.  Once you are back on the road and thinking about it, if you had chosen the first option- you’d (probably) still be waiting for that tow truck driver.

Manovich: The Myth of Interactivity

I found the principle of interactivity to be an interesting subject.  Manovich’s assertion number 6 categorizes New Media as “interactive.  In contract to old media where the order of presentation is fixed, the user can now interact with a media object.”  This is misleading.  The term interactive reflects action between two forms.  The manner of interaction does not even have to admit humans.  We are mislead with respect to the idea of ‘old media being fixed’ not being considered as interactive.  The industrial era printed numerous  newspapers, set up neighborhood bulletin boards and used word of mouth to spread news and important topics and all these forms included interaction, especially with John Q. Public.

We could always interact with the media object, whether it was radio, telegraph, or letter writing.  Did not the manner of ‘Smoke Signals’ involve some elbow grease and interaction with fire and smoke (This is not meant as a joke, so please do not take offense)? When Television was invented it was ‘New Media’ without any consideration of the label, yet families gathered many evenings to be informed and entertained.  The only difference was that this was not categorized as interactivity as it reflected media.

Associating the newest wave of technological advances including Internet, Satellite/Digital TV, Satellite Radio and GPS (and our personal cellular ‘tracking device’) as interactive is more of a marketing plan than it is an actual truth.  Introducing the interactive title is marketing’s attempt to brand the connective abilities of these devices, basically in order to increase the bottom line price point.  Technology today has many features compared to previous, outdated components.  Between websites, cable/digital channels and cellphone, uh, smartphones, our ways of personalizing communication and functionality has increased in ridiculous ways.  However, interactivity was not recently invented as the newest form of linking these tools.  Apparently, it has been around since the proverbial ‘Caveman and his club’.   Interactivity, with respect to new media,  has only been enhanced due to technological innovation.

Social Network Experience Online

Hello, peers and fellow classmates.  My experience with social networks online is quite extensively limited.  Of all the social networks listed on the blog prompt picture (flickr, digg,, etc…), I have only used one: You Tube, (Editor’s note:  Of all the other networks in the picture, I have never ‘used’ any).  I know about YouTube mainly from word of mouth.  Many students would rave on about things they watched on YouTube.  There are many forms of news that have links to YouTube’s URl site, like magazines, newspapers, broadcasts and other venues.

I first started to use YouTube to look for items related to the news program “60 Minutes” regarding the dangers of amalgam fillings. Since I have had cavatives, which was not a long time, I have always been apprehensive of getting any amalgam, or silver, fillings.  After doing personal research on the computer, I came up on a link to a ’60 Minutes’ episode regarding the mercury amalgam filling issue :

Since I was a fan of ’60 Minutes’, back when I had a TV, I watched it on YouTube.  I was already certain that no silver filling was going into my teeth.  This episode only helped confirm my fears about mercury amalgam fillings.  It also help me see some of the benefits of YouTube.  The ability to pull up specific videos in full or part at a moments notice is crucial for today’s culture of on the go pedestrians and commuteers.

Now I use YouTube to watch some sports, like boxing, mma and bodybuilding, though I don’ t use it often.  I am not hooked on YouTube, like how some people are hooked to their phones.  I just feel that it has some good uses.  Did you know that there are links to videos tutoring candidates on how to interview for a job?