DS106 Asasignment II.

My final choice for a DS106 assignment is called Fan Fiction Picture. I first saw it on Takuji’s blog, and then again on Eri‘s. I liked both of them, but I also chose this assignment because the “fanfic” section is one that I haven’t yet chosen any assignments from. The assignment reads:

Take the name or title of your favorite band, song, movie, or tv show and display it in the form of photography. You can take as many pictures as you want, but have your photos capture the band, song, movie, or tv show you pick. Be creative and have fun!

Instead of a band, song, movie, or TV show though, I chose DS106:

I did a google search of “DS1906” and these are some images that come up. I then took physical pictures of my computer screen (I wanted a bit blurrier/more tonal image, rather than just a screen shot), mashed them together, fixed some color/balance problems, added text, then my own deco around the text.I guess this officially makes me a fan of DS106.. Thank you all for this fun DS106-semester experience!

After the Second Renaissance: 2022

I watched the video, The Visible College: Four Futures for Higher Education by Bryan Alexander, and decided to write about my prediction (not quite a prediction really–just a guess) of the future–society as it would be if the Renaissance scenario that Alexander discusses does occur. The Renaissance scenario is his idea of a future in which society becomes increasingly involved in and influenced by games and gaming technology. But enough introduction–

The year is 2022; I am 31. Technology has improved to such an extent that it’s funny–and a bit nostalgic–to look back on my university days. Remembering physical textbooks and desktop computers (and especially handheld cellphones!) is always enough to make me or any of my old friends chuckle. Of course, by 2022 everything can be controlled by gesture–no need for an unwieldy computer “mouse,” or keyboard typing–and with the advancement of microwave innovation most technology doesn’t require the old-fashioned idea of a “device” anymore.

This has come at no small price. The dangerous lack of protection from radio-waves in the 2000s is becoming visible now–it’s like lead paint was before the 1970s–hard to believe that people didn’t pay attention to early reports of the dangers of microwave radiation and electromagnetic sensitivity, but I guess that’s human nature. If it’s convenient, use it–and don’t look too closely. Children born in the early 1990s are suffering the most as a result of this, and I am one of them. I survived a brain tumor three years ago, but two of my best friends didn’t. My husband has a slow-acting cancer, and I am infertile–this is normal for couples of our age-group. Today, in 2022, one out of every three men and women in America, the UK, Japan, and Korea (as well as most other “developed” countries of the 2000-2015 era) is completely infertile because of overexposure to electromagnetic frequencies. Although some consider this a kind of ultimate evil, I feel that maybe it’s proof that nature regulates–population has actually decreased since 2020. Technology is safer today then it was then though–or rather, we know to use protection now, because everyone knows that electromagnetic pollution is everywhere.

Anyway, back to technology. Gaming is life for most people–and the only form of life for some. Most gaming since the inventions following the “2020 Renaissance”  take place directly in the brain–complex chemical injections, implantable “game chips,” and  attachable head-devices.I can’t condemn it, but humanity’s obsession with games makes me a little bit sad. “Applications” no longer refer to crude files we download to computers or cellphones, but directly into our brains. However, there is one application that I love–the Dream Share application is one that I was involved in the development of, and I consider it my most significant project. Downloaded directly into the deep back half of the brain (where dream activity takes place), the Dream Share application allows users to record dreams, and share them with anyone that they want to. It turns out that dreaming is almost like any other art, and now there are Dream Authors–some celebrities even–who make a living of recording any selling their original dreams. This has lead to a whole new level of “piracy” and other malware that has caused scattered cases of extreme mental trauma–we’re still developing the legal system around such applications.

Naturally, the education system has been drastically effected by the advancment of gaming. Classroom education is almost extinct, wildly expensive–attended by only the the top 1% of the financial tier. Although some testing has been done on direct chip-imbed learning (“no study needed” learning), most learning is still just done online in virtual classrooms, not essentially so different from the physical classroom learning style of the early 2000s. The main difference in educational theory is the the growth of educational gaming instead of study. Learning games are popular, and generally much more effective than their old-fashioned counterpart “study,” because gaming penetrates deeper in the brain than reading or listening to lectures. The social element of education is a big concern for some people, but the cost of going to a physical school is too great for most to fight for.

There are people who literally live their whole lives in the virtual reality of their choice–cocoons with drip-tubes supplying vital nutrients to them so that they never have to come out. Some call it endlessly surfing on sunshine, but I think someday soon no one will remember what sunshine is.

Surfing on Sunshine: DS106 Assignment I.

Since our final section is titled “Surfing on Sunshine,” I wanted right from the start to do the DS106 assignment A Sunset–the prompt for which asks–

Take a picture of a beautiful sunset. Nothing fancy, just a nice picture 🙂

In order for my assignment to make any sense though, there’s a bit of explaining I should do. One of my favorite books of all time is a French children’s book, “Le Petit Prince” (“The Little Prince”; 星の王子様). There is a part in the story where the little Prince becomes sad, and asks Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the author, if they can go see a sunset. It turns out that the Little Prince comes from a planet that is so small that in order to see a sunset, all he has to do is walk for a few moments to the other side of his planet–so he can see a sunset anytime he feels like it. The Little Prince says,

“Un jour, j’ai vu le soleil se coucher quarante-trois fois!”
Et un peu plus tard tu ajoutais:
“Tu sais… quand on est tellement triste on aime les couchers de soleil…”

(Or, in the English version…)

“One day,” you said to me, “I saw the sunset forty-four times!”
And a little later you added:

“You know–one loves the sunset, when one is so sad . . .”

*this picture is taken from the The Little Prince, and does not belong to me.

Ever since reading this book, I always want to see sunsets when I am sad. And that is where I am going with all of this–my latest DS 106 assignment. Although I am generally a happy person,  something happened last week that made me extraordinarily sad, and I thought of The Little Prince. Looking through pictures that I had taken during a trip with a friend, I found myself wishing that they were  all sunset pictures. Then I began searching through all of the pictures on my computer, and couldn’t find a single one in which I had captured a sunset–so I decided to make one. Thinking of The Little Prince, I wanted it to be a bit childish–not an oil-painting sunset, but a child-who-doesn’t-know-how-to-use-fancy-computer-editing-programs kind of painting.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am thankful for this class after all, because to me “Surfing on Sunshine” is freedom. And freedom is here after all–the ability to express myself in ways I wasn’t able to before. On a blog. In photoshop. And on DS106 too.

Hanami

Sometimes in Tokyo, in the spring, it is vitally important to drop everything and go contemplate the cherry blossoms. (This has nothing to do with class–I just wanted to remind you all–)

Sometimes, you should get off from Facebook, away from the virtual sunshine, and into the real sunshine.

Away from the virtual people, to be surrounded by living ones–

People who are laughing, talking, breathing the petal-laden air and smiling to be alive.

Those same people will let you join in their Hanami, even if they’ve never met you before–even if you are a stranger from a foreign land.

And they will tell you the stories of their lives, show you pictures of their children, give you the food they made, and share in the wine you brought.

And sometimes, Sometimes, it is important to let the overwhelming perfection of the shortness of this life  sweep you away–

Like boats on a gentle river, like flower petals on the soft wind.

Personal Cyberinfrastructure

Reading the article “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure” by Gardner Campbell was actually a kind of moving experience for me. His view of higher education in light of the concept of a “digital facelift” resonated with me deeply. I actually feel like he beautifully analyzes this concept in paragraphs eight and nine. Of the two, I want to analyze paragraph nine–the first part of which (shortened) claims that:

 Pointing students to data buckets and conduits we’ve already made for them won’t do… For students who have relied on these aids, the freedom to explore and create is the last thing on their minds, so deeply has it been discouraged.

I feel like this is really true. Although I’ve learned, in this “cyberspace and society” class for example, to make blog posts, to use twitter and flickr and various programs–ultimately, I feel like I have less freedom to express myself. I still know nothing about the internet. Although he emphasizes the stress placed on platform/medium as a facelift, I feel like in an educational sense it’s more than that. Maybe it’s the fact that a class has to be graded; when I put a lot of time and thought into the writing of a blogpost that only gets 2 or 3 out of 5 points, it makes me think that “higher education” all a bit of a contradiction. Is this what I’m supposed to care about? I wonder. Am I supposed to be catering to this professor that I pay to teach me? He mentions this in the very next sentence:

Many students simply want to know what their professors want and how to give that to them.

Maybe I’m optimistic, but I think that no student starts out that way. I also hope that no teacher intends to cause their students to feel this way, but most teachers end up doing so anyway. Realistically, I think this is no fault of their own–but in a system that “grades” there are bound to be misunderstandings, mistakes, and disappointments which will cause the students to conform to this mindset, however much they dislike it. Even if the teacher he describes here–

…what the professor truly wants is for students to discover and craft their own desires and dreams…

does in fact want the students to succeed, the moment the system puts the pressure of “getting a bad grade” on them,  he can not help but stifle their innovation.

In conclusion, although I love Campbell’s article, I think that it is unrealistic in the current educational system; what I do hope for is that we as students will eventually learn more than the “mediums” of the internet, so that we can attain our personal cyberinfrastucture individually at some point in our futures.

DS Assignment:A Postcard from the Future

For my final DS106 assignment, I chose “What you want to be when you grow up” for which the prompt is-

It’s about time you thought about the big question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Design a postcard from where and what you will be 10 years from now and write a message to your current self.

I chose to complete this assignment in two different designs–one for each side of the postcard. Here is the address (to my current self):

The base of which I got from this site (which has a fascinating history of the postcard).

The back of the postcard is here–

This was a bit tricky–I used the same background, covered it, added a script layer, and then pasted on a piece of a painting I did a long time ago. I’ll let you guess about the “mood” and the “meaning” and all of that for yourself though 🙂

Second topic: ways to reform copyright law

For my second topic, I chose the article titled “Now that SOPA’s dead, five easy ways to reform copyright law.” I found this a good read because it constructive, but also optimistic. To summarize its main points: the author suggests that we should begin by…

1. Curbing abuses of copyright takedowns
and

2. Shortening copyright terms,

before going on to

3. Clear up “fair use” rules,

4. Protect against overbearing copyright claims

and finally

5. Allow the breaking of Digital Rights Management software for legal purposes.

I highly suggest you read the article for details on these points, but I would like to add a bit more information to this as well, from different sources.

This video is the most informative thing I’ve seen on copyright so far

I absolutely recommend it, although it IS a bit on the long side. Towards the end, he makes some really good suggestions for change that I think are right in line with the “ways to reform copyright law” article.