The Work Of Purification

So personal stuff came to a head early in 2010. Must be something in the stars, or the numerology of it, but right smack dab in the middle of the 2010 Olympics (and right smack dab in the middle of my exams), I’ve had to review everything in my life going back 7 years, and to get all the facts about me in order. It’s been a very overwhelming, gut-wrenching, and at times utterly paranoid excursion into self-evaluation, and it has tested everything. And I confess I passed the test and we will never sever.

Everything except Facebook, that is, though for unrelated reasons. I now have a reduced presence on that data-sucking, privacy-averse dump of a place. No offense to my many FB friends. It was a very difficult decision to make, as FB offers many unique opportunities to interact with people near and far. I understand why you stay there. I’m simply uninterested in constantly poring over the continually renewed privacy policies. Life’s too short for privacy policies. And what a dump.

I’ve been to hell and back in the past month, and I’ve dragged my family there and back too. It could’ve been a spectacular mess. But we’ve cleaned up well.

More on this after exam #2 is done and the situation reaches full closure.

One Fine Day

5:00 AM – awaken and start reading Stiegler’s Technics and Time.

5:20 AM – 20 pages in the ’emergency laundry’ thing occurs (potty training the toddler who must have at least 3 pairs of clean ginch for daycare).

5:25 AM – other chores interrupt the ’emergency laundry’. whilst sorting poopy ginch, discover our 30 pound cat has created what we (try to) affectionately call a “Carlyle Log”. Plug nose, scoop, dump, flush, sweep, spray, scrub, breathe.

5:35 AM – while this is going on both cats begin to howl for food. wash water dishes, dump old food, put in new food, new water, all in random order.

5:45 AM – make bed, pack snacks while spouse is with washing machines in the basement.

6:00 AM – return to bed. 15 minute catnap (running on empty).

6:15 AM – awaken again. attempt more Stiegler. 2 pages in I realize I need to know more about Dasein. So on to Heidegger. 45 minutes of flummoxery here, back and forth, WTF is going on…

7:00 AM – laundry complete. fold/put away, prep toddler’s clothes/accoutrements for the day.

7:30 AM – spouse leaves for work. 15 more minutes of the Stiegler-Heidegger mental exercises, then

7:45 AM – toddler is up. trains out. then oh it’s pee pee time. to the can, make a ‘potty train’ (big potty-stool-small potty). toddler switches around for about 5 minutes then squirts about 1 fl oz in the small one.”you want a sticker. you want circles…” wash hands dry hands put on band aid, put about 40 pounds of TP in the toilet while I’m not looking. “judiciously flush this” for about 10 minutes. wash hands dry hands. sticker, circles. toddler is silent and motionless for 30 seconds…

8:15 AM – yep, that was half an hour there. breakfast, which consists of asking for things and then refusing each in sequence: eggs, cheerios+soy milk, toast/margarine, grapes, oranges, rice crackers (not given).

8:40 AM – this is interrupted by a “you want to pee pee”. back to the can. wait three minutes during the potty train scaling, then give up. underpants back on. hands washed, dried.

8:50 AM – toddler attends to her trains and track segments. packing of supplies. daddy changes out of pyjamas, etc.

9:00 AM – already way behind schedule, dress up the toddler. brush hair, hair elastics, wipe face, boots, coat. then daddy’s shoes, hoodie, umbrella, bag. shut curtains, expel cats from bedrooms. shut doors, set alarm, march up the hallway.

9:20 AM – out in front of apartment in the pissing rain. toddler dawdling. we get a half block en route to the co-op car. fuck i forgot the fucking car seat. ok let’s go back home and get the car seat. annoyed toddler trudges back in wid me, past the mailwoman, past the electricians invading the strata bldg.

9:30 AM – long story short, back out in front as before plus car seat hoisted over shoulder. a shitload to carry, but toddler insists on alternating btw a dead stop (to provide commentary on every car we stroll past) and what i’m starting to recognize as the ‘drunken dawdle’

9:45 AM – after much impatience from me and stubborn immobility from the toddler, we finally make it to the coop car (parked only two blocks away from our bldg). it took this to get her to finally move: “I’m James, you’re Thomas, and we’re racing. Let’s race to the car!” To be sure, I’ll need to invent something else in a week’s time.

10:00 AM – car de-fobbed, keys out of lockbox, car seat installed, toddler installed in that, anti-theft bar off, bags on floor, walkaround complete, mirrors adjusted, mileage entered in book, defroster on. It’s still cats and dogs. I’m soaked head to toe, but relieved to be moving 2 hours and 15 minutes later than intended.

10:05 AM – pull into the drive-thru coffee shop (an indulgence reserved only for such rushed, rain-soaked days), this goes unexpectedly quickly.

10:10 AM – upon exiting the drive thru, toddler cries “you want to make a pee pee”. stop at home? or wait until daycareмаси, I ask. “stop at home”. bien sur.

10:15 AM – back home, in the door, coat/shoes/pants off, on potty. again, 1 fl oz of stuff. wipe, cram TP in the can, ash, dry, sticker, circles. then coat/shoes/pants back on, back to the car.

10:25 AM – back on the road.

10:50 AM – drop daughter at daycare. after organizing all her stuff, stuffing it into cubbies, etc, we kiss see ya later.

11:10 AM – leave the childcare centre. drop kip at the gym locker.

11:15 AM – grab early lunch to beat the awful noon lineups. read more Stiegler, pendant.

1:15 PM – to the gym. 1000 calories shedded (I only get in 3x per week, so I must go hardcore like this). plus shower.

2:25 PM – answer work emails + student inquiries. great that students are bloggin and taking an interest. not so great that a tentative contract will not be moving forward after all.

3:00 PM – back to the Stiegler. at 4:35 I break to write a self-indulgent post about my day. I’ve only got until 5:15 PM until the daycare closes, after all…

5:03 PM – finish this post and hurry off to the daycare!… total intermittent study time: 4h55min

Laboratory Life: Seeking input from YOU on course design

So I’m redesigning a course I’ve taught a few times now (CMNS 253, which I’m teaching right now, too) to transform it from a lecture/tutorial format that uses an all-in-one wiki/blog/CMS (Howard Rheingold’s Social Media Classroom build of Drupal) into, well, a lecture/lab course in writing for social, mobile and pervasive media (using Mediawiki, WordPress, Twitter, Digg, and a whole ecosystem of other open-platform mobile and social media tools).

The 2 hour lectures still follow the same format, tracing the history of analog and digital communications media as told by Wade Rowland in Spirit of the Web. However, what’s new is the lab component: 1 hour following the lecture every week is a workshop in social media literacies and tools, culminating in (1) an individually written research paper in the form of a crowdsource-mediated blog post and (2) a citizen journalism exercise/team multimedia project.

I’m interested in your input, so I’ve included a draft of the syllabus below. Please comment on this post if you have any ideas or criticism. Some of it is more-or-less complete, while stuff toward the end of the thirteen weeks is a bit hazier as of now.

In particular, I’m wondering if there is room in here for things I haven’t yet included – web metrics and analytics, for one, but there are probably others. And I’m also open to suggestion as to whether the lectures should match each lab somehow in terms of theme (though I don’t think this is really warranted, as Rowland’s history stands on its own, and dramatically underlines the watershed represented by the Internet and social media in communications history.

CMNS 253 (W) J1, Spring 2010 – Draft Syllabus

Week 1 (Jan 5) Information, technology, new media, social software.

  • Read: Rowland, Prologue, Chapters 1, 2, 3. See Week 1 for details.
  • LAB: Introduction to the computer lab
    • Overview of Lab Assignments
    • Start a Blog, Get on the Wiki
    • Post a brief blog post about yourself, then post a link to it on the wiki.

Week 2 (Jan 12) The Telegraph. Theories of technology.

  • Read: Rowland, Chapters 4, 5, 6. Also, Kierkegaard’s The Present Age. See Week 2 for details.
  • LAB: Doing online research
    • Tools: Google Scholar, Google Books, EBSCO & library databases
    • Style: APA, blogging/linking conventions, attributing, Zotero, Endnote
    • How to identify and use a peer reviewed source
    • How and why to use non-peer reviewed sources
    • Choose a topic (you sill stay with this topic throughout the semester) from a list provided, OR choose one off-list by emailing me about it.
    • Exercise: find a scholarly article that is relevant to the topic you’ve chosen, post the APA-cited reference to it on your blog before next class (we will need you to read it before next class too, as you will be discussing it in next week’s lab).

Week 3 (Jan 19) The Telephone. Theories and critics of Information Society.

  • Read: Rowland, Chapters 7, 8, 9. Also, Howard Rheingold’s Disinformocracy, Rheingold’s encounter with Habermas and Kellner on Habermas. See Week 3 for details.
  • LAB: Searching and Social Bookmarking
    • Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon introduced. (We vote on which to use)
    • Search techniques (both push -twitter, friendfeed, etc. , or pull -google,yahoo,wikipedia)
    • Topic search to find a news article, blog, or other timely (academic or non-academic) source of relevance to your topic
    • Find at least 2 people who are experts on your topic who you can follow for timely topical updates
    • Create a social bookmark for the article you found. Establish a routine search for topical items. Everyday, do a news/bookmark/digg search. Also read your feeds (people, experts)

Week 4 (Jan 26) Radio. The Tetrad Protocol as a method.

Read: Rowland, Chapters 10, 11, 12. See Week 4 for details.
LAB: Microblogging (twittering), bouncing ideas around about topics.

Start a twitter account (link to it on our designated wiki page for this)
Find the people (experts) on twitter that you identified last week. Follow them and create a twitter list for your topic.
Update this list regularly, and post a link to it on the appropriate wiki page.
Tweet about something related to your topic. use a hash tag. reply to two other tweets (I will configure a twitter list for the class. You can reply to someone else in the class, or to one of your tweeps you’ve identified as a ‘knowledge broker” in your topic).

Week 5 (Feb 2) Radio as an Industry.

  • Read: Rowland, Chapters 13, 14, 15. See Week 5 for details.
  • LAB: Blogging.
    • Post a blog as a first draft for your Major Research paper, based on your research thus far. Include your two sources (at least one academic) found thus far. Be sure to cite in APA (including a references cited list) and link/attribute appropriately.
    • Comment constructively on 2 other students’ blog posts about social media.
  • Assignment: Major Research Paper draft

Week 6 (Feb 9) Television (and review of previous weeks).

  • Read: Rowland, Chapters 16, 17, 18. See Week 6 for details.
  • LAB: Collaborating on a Wiki
    • team forming, idea clustering (based on topics chosen) (teams will also work together on the video assignment later)
    • discuss and differentiate your ideas. identify your unique contribution (we can’t all write about “Facebook and surveillance”, for example – if more than one person is writing about something – try to work together to differentiate your individual topics)
  • Due: Major Research Paper draft. Give it to a partner for formal peer review.

Week 7 (Feb 23) Midterm exam

No reading assigned this week. No lecture/lab this week. 2 hour in class exam. See Week 7 for details.

Week 8 (March 2) Pre-history and history of computers

  • Read: Rowland, Chapters 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23. See Week 8 for details.
  • LAB: Exploring & Coordinating Online Syndication: RSS & APIs
  • Due: Major Research Paper draft – formal peer review – use form for review, communicate review privately to original writer (ccd to me).

Week 9 (March 9) Microchips, computers, and the Internet

  • Read: Rowland, Chapters 24, 25, 26, 27, 28. See Week 9 for details.
  • LAB: Exploring multimedia sources
  • Due: Major Research Paper (final draft). Post as a document (Word, Open Office, something that permits me to comment and edit) to your blog. Revise based on peer feedback.

Week 10 (March 16) Search, Social Media and the Real-Time Web

  • Read: Rowland, Chapters 29, 30, 31 and 32, and Jenkins’ “If it Doesn’t Spread It’s Dead” (part one). See Week 10 for details.
  • LAB: Mobilizing your social media
    • What’s in your phone/laptop?
    • Using SMS and MMS with social media
    • Using cameras, streaming media
    • Using location apps
    • Using the field: making use of free wi-fi, 3G, Bluetooth to communicate live (laptop or cel phone)
  • Assignment: for the final multimedia assignment, decide on a topic based on your teams’ individual research. Can you combine your topics or just use one (or two) of your individual studies to springboard into a multimedia project? Remember that you will decide on a local event (or create your own) that is useful to your research topic – a conference, barcamp, public event, political protest, or flashmob. Preferable to use one that’s already happening.

Week 11 (March 30) Copyright and its Digital Discontents

  • Read: Oswald’s “Plunderphonics”, Doctorow’s “The DRM Sausage Factory” and DeBeer’s “Respect and Reality are Keys to Reform” See Week 11 for details.
  • FIELD EXERCISE: Citizen Journalism and/or Flash Mob. We will cover a live event, or create one of our own and cover it, in teams we formed back in Week 6. we will decide on the location ahead of time, so the timing might not sync with lab time. in that case, we’ll cover the event (on a weekend or evening only that we decide as a team, or as a class if we all do the same thing, but regardless it will have to be something that happens in wek 10 or 11 in order to have enough time to edit footage down. I will compile an event calendar of things accessible via skytrain or bus that will be suitable), and instead use this time in the lab for editing/scripting as needed by the various teams of 5. post your footage to the wiki, blogs, and make it creative commons.
  • Assignment: In teams, and using the wiki, script/design your video or multimedia project. Remember that as we’re doing this around a live event, you need to decide what kinds of footage you’re likely to need:
    • interviews – with whom, and using what questions? script your interviews ahead of time, get model release forms and informed consent forms signed first, on location
    • b-roll – establishing shots, ambient footage. looks good behind voice-overs, can be used for montage, etc.
    • event footage. when we get closer to the event, spec out the setting for: lighting, probable noise, angles, probably sites where the action will be, where the audience will be, where signage is, etc.

Week 12 (April 6) The Mobile Web and Pervasive Computing

  • Read: Castells et al, The Mobile Communication Society (Chapters 6 and 7). See Week 12 for details.
  • LAB: editing, remixing, mashing
  • Assignment: Edit your video or multimedia project.

Week 13 (April 13) Student Video Presentation Day

  • No assigned readings. See Week 13 for details.
  • Hand in video/multimedia project via this wiki the night before (April 12), and bring a hard copy to class as a backup.
  • Screening of student multimedia projects in Lecture.

bucking and sucking down trends

and confusing the hell out of porn-bots everywhere, to be sure, with a title like that. shortish entry about my current doings, which are actually getting pretty interesting, at least for me. that’s the ‘bucking’ part, where I surprise you all by switching off the automatic Tweet updates and instead throw a real live post exceeding 160 characters.

the ‘sucking down’ trends part comes in two parts, really. one is trivial – i joined the google wave thing on a whim. we’ll see where that goes. i have nothing to say about it. the other is that i have embraced thrift in recent weeks, always a year behind the trends. but being years behind mainstream trends is always already the new early adopter, the new avant garde. it took me ten years to listen to any nirvana songs (i will always fondly associate their music with the attacks on the world trade center).

what’s so interesting about any of that? nothing. what’s interesting are the inches of progress i’m starting to make on my PhD. i’m writing my first exam in two weeks’ timein February 2010 actually (logistics weren’t in place for a Nov-Dec write), and i think i feel somewhat prepared (as prepared as any PhD student ever is for their comps, I mean, which given the vicissitudes of living life as a grad student, is not at all. so i guess i’m feeling better prepared than most).

but something in this has clicked, in the sense that it has subsided to become a sort of routine, mindless, administerial form of work, this sorting and sifting of theories and methodologies, and busting them up against each other. you can only spend so long in university without this sort of administrivial subsidence.

but this is good, as it means that my mental energies can be focused on higher callings. i’m not at all disdainful of my work, but it is work first and foremost. let’s face it – it’s a gig. it’s taken a long time to admit as much. but doing so has converted it into a day job – of sorts, in the sense that any 21st century space-of-flows info economy laptop-job (hello again porn bots!) can ever be thus.

but the combination of thrift and work subsidence means that the ASIHE record will be pressed, and soon, ‘cos I can afford it in terms of both money and mental effort. so that’s interesting too. yum, artefacts.


Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-11-08

  • completely puzzled why ppl are lining up for the H1N1 vaccine: #
  • still no internet/email at home. Twitter or SMS will be answered more promptly #
  • woke startled from a dream wherein cops fine me $900 for a car I abandoned 10 yrs ago, & aliens abduct me for shooting video w/a mobile #
  • RIP Claude Levi-Strauss, at 100: #
  • finally the self-employed can pay into and collect EI (longstanding no-brainer, life-ruiner comes to an end)- #
  • leveraging insomnia and a perilously close deadline – settin em up and knockin em down in the wee hours #
  • why ACTA is bad for copyright (and hence communications media) in Canada: #
  • Got isa saying "borked" all the time now. #geekintraining #
  • blustery week of nonstop piles of things tado. final pin to knock down starts in 35 min: sleep, old friend, I'm on my way #
  • …and the ship (what ship? my ship! my pirate ship!) sails into calmer waters… #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-11-01

  • Simondon shuts out Dewey, w/assists by Feenberg, Stiegler. Series still too close to call. #fuckhockeysticksexceptasregardsclimatechange 😉 #
  • I'm co-mediating this workshop on Digital Media Literacy and Creative Commons in YVR on Nov. 5th: #
  • #SciAm has gone into the toilet this past year. tar sands apologists & oil tycoons writing articles, auto-CEO roundtables! #scienceFAIL #
  • evaluating other ppl's writing in standardized ways sucks almost as much soul as fry-flippin. difference? i guess I haven't poisoned anyone #
  • Copyrights And Wrongs: wiki page (with slides+vids+baubles) for our CC workshop on Thurs Nov 5 – @KateMilberry @spoyntz #
  • first we take BCSLSB, then we take NSLSC! aw, what no prepayment penalties? RBC don't get no predatory interest-slavery? go away, scumbags #
  • Telus sucks. Internet has been out 24 hours+ with no fix or explanation. worst service EVER. #
  • anyone recommend a good ISP (besides Shaw or Telus) in YVR that can get me up and running today? #
  • Telus locked me out of my account. I cannot cancel anything (online/phone), service is still out, and they refuse to answer my questions! #
  • I think Telus is breaking the law by refusing me customer service. Certainly breaking their own TOS, but the law too #
  • I guess Shaw it is. It's really a troubling state of affairs where one requires a lawyer to cancel an ISP/phone account #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-10-25

  • apartment listed, refinancing process underway, renovating, cleaning, crossing fingers on all 8 of the tentacles I have reluctantly grown #
  • The Onion is very truthful, unfunny news with stories written this way: #
  • if anyone has any temp work available I need some very much! i also have some cool pro audio gear for sale… #
  • why does no one w/a mortgage ever tell the mortgageless how drab & strategic life becomes once one gets in the property game? fuckers. #
  • cult of finance advisors has now indoctrinated me: pay off studloans w/equity & up the mortg. at var rate during historic low=$ probs solved #
  • RT @datalaundry: CRTC requires ISPs to be more transparent about traffic mgmt #
  • BIG congrats to April, Hendrik, and Peter et al for becoming the poster kids for mobile social media in YVR! – #
  • so it's a refinancing & not a property sale. short term sanity improves. #
  • need about 20 more hrs per week to get everything done. thinking sleep is for the chop #
  • say no to takedowns, say yes to Yes Men! RT @Joi: EFF defends Yes Men parody of US Chamber of Commerce #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-10-18

  • what sort of monstrous lowlifes would light a sleeping man on fire? two blocks from my apartment, no less… #
  • RT @kk: Govt cutbacks – not fault of Olympiad – JH:yes but a false dichotomy – many who oppose 2010 also oppose Gateway #
  • financial advisors are from another planet. as if the comparison of long term costs vs near term sanity was reducible to a balance sheet. #
  • RT @hollykruse: So if Google released the Online Brain Succubus, everyone would want that too? Oh, wait… #
  • there goes that Hockey Tweet in Canada thing again. just like a radio-live-transmissiuh-uhn #whatwouldorsonwellesdowithtwitter? #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-10-11

  • RT @asterix: Mobile Myths and Reality. follow this de-hyping series on mobiles and socio-economics: #
  • ArsTechnica on the arrest of G20 protwester; sheepishly (and wrongly) suggests Neoluddism for activists: . discuss? #
  • 1st day back at 'em after 3-day flu. conquered gym and Don Ihde in one sunny coup de main. remembering again why i do this. profoundly 🙂 #
  • OK now that the Google Wave invite shit has died down, how's fuckin' Google Wave? change yr (miserable) life? serious. let me know #
  • can't wait to see how Telus/Bell fuck up the iPhone. #wifirules #3Gsucks #hello?SIMcard? #
  • Pirate Party of Canada (now legit!) Vancouver meetup is on Oct 19, VAG (south side), 7 PM: #
  • watching students frantically make paper chains #
  • HAHAHAH! RT @dubber: I drove Bono around Auckland in a van once. I had every opportunity to take it off a cliff. I've failed us all. #
  • Ont govt spends a billion on proprietary ehealth [scandal] s/w while cheap open source alternative is quietly adopted: #
  • butchering flightless birds for food. yeah, i'm impressed. i'm thankful i'm not a turkey #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-10-04

  • why is the PhD degree such an isolating experience? gah. #
  • Stevie Wonder's Innervisions=great mental therapy right now. #
  • – "and we screamed into that bitter night/'hey 3+1 makes 4' " = Enlightenment triumphs over inner city misery? #
  • CDN govt attempted to censor scholarly debate on Israel/Palestine by threatening SSHRC funding: #
  • apes evolved from us. wow: #
  • everything is OK: . so many kinds of awesome. #
  • evertime there's a good ol hockey game, that fangled twitter set tells y'about it in spades (=distributed sports announcing) #

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