Simple Interview Formatting Using Pseudo Elements

I had a quick question today about formatting an interview. That led to some quick experimentation in Code Pen and some simple uses of pseudo class selectors.1 When I first looked at the transcript I started to assign a class to each paragraph. That would work but was tedious. Given we were switching speakers at every paragraph I could be clever/lazy. nth-of-type will let me select odd and even elements. You can also be far fancier (every 5th etc.) but even/odd was all I needed. Given how pleasant that was, I figured I’d try a few more. This CSS lets me grab the first letter (and the colon) of the paragraphs and make them a bit like a drop cap.2 I wondered if I could use the selectors in combination to alternately style the first letters drop caps. Turns out you can. Anyway a fun 10 minutes or so that might be of interest to other wanderers out there. See the Pen demo for clare – fancy version by Tom (@twwoodward) on CodePen. 1 Disregard my neapolitan-ice-cream-inspired color scheme. 2 I had to look up the word for ‘big letters in medieval manuscripts’ and didn’t actually read/follow the tips for drop caps at the URL linked here . . .

Audio Annotation POC Using WaveSurfer.JS

See the Pen wave surfer – waveform by Tom (@twwoodward) on CodePen. I needed to make a quick proof of concept for the annotation of audio on the web. In this case, it’s meant to provide a visual and auditory way to play through interview segments that represent different categories of responses. I found WaveSurfer.js this morning and just a bit later I had a functional example. I find the ability to highlight track elements visually and access specific segments to be a pretty powerful combination. If we stacked several tracks vertically the visuals would quickly point out content variation in terms of timing and total composition. You could get more and more complex from there. Playing with it gave me all sorts of ideas (including possibly using it as part of of the upcoming Reclaim Your Dance Party // API + Audio = (beats, visuals, internet, participate) session at Domains 17 with Grant and Brian). It’s also looking like I’ll be able to work more with our music department to think through online course on music so possibilities like this will be very useful. This kind of thing would be pretty easy to turn into a plugin . . .

Simple Text Analysis POC

See the Pen text analysis color viz – step 1 by Tom (@twwoodward) on CodePen. Assuming you have sentences, phrases, or words you’d like to categorize . . . you could do something like this to create a visualization. This one is using CSS but it could be done in any basic word processing software. Setting levels of opacity would allow for multiple-overlapping categorizations. See the Pen text analysis color viz – step 2 by Tom (@twwoodward) on CodePen. Playing with font size and the rotation of the paragraph also opens up some doors . . . as does doing different rotations at the sentence level depending on the categorization of the sentence. You could get even more granular with stuff like that using data attributes and CSS. See the Pen text analysis color viz – step 4 by Tom (@twwoodward) on CodePen. A Bit Odder See the Pen text analysis color viz – step 5 by Tom (@twwoodward) on CodePen.

Annotating a Will: A Digital Process

One of the projects that Ryan Smith chose as part of our Digital History course was the collaborative transcription and annotation of a historic Richmond will . . . describing it thusly1 in the syllabus. Collaborative annotation: To further put our emphasis on collaboration into practice, we will annotate [explain, contextualize, add to] together one document, the last will and testament of Isaac Judah, an early Richmond resident. This assignment will require student research, online or in person, to help explain and contextualize this document for a public audience. What software platform should we use to markup the item? How should we handle the will’s transcription? Who are the parties mentioned in the will? Where are the locations? What historical lessons can it teach readers? The quality and quantity of each students’ research/commentary will count as 10% of the final course grade. The will can be found on our course website, in the Google Drive folder. The transcription file is: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ghG-oyFvyza-zRUE4ZJf0_HF4_D5dey4Bv4BmM5JYFQ/edit. Annotations can begin as soon as the course begins and should be finalized by February 23 March 30. If the annotation is fruitful, we may post this result for public consumption. We ended up with quite a bit of work . . . in fact so much work that displaying it via the Google Doc didn’t really work. It […]

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Weekly Web Harvest for 2017-04-16

Meet FlexiSpy, The Company Getting Rich Selling ‘Stalkerware’ to Jealous Lovers – Motherboard Internal company data, stolen by a hacker and provided to Motherboard, provides new insight into FlexiSpy, its founder, and the sprawling, predatory consumer spyware market at large. The company grew from its customer base of vindictive spouses, and ended up connecting with firms which sold malware to some of the world’s most oppressive regimes. Build a Better Monster: Morality, Machine Learning, and Mass Surveillance The correct way to play Pac Man, of course, is to consume as much as possible while running from the ghosts that relentlessly pursue you. This was a valuable early lesson in what it means to be an American. It also taught me that technology and ethics aren’t so easy to separate, and that if you want to know how a system works, it helps to follow the money. Juicero CEO Begs You: Do NOT Squeeze Our Juice Bags [Updated] This week saw the latest chapter in the utterly wonderful saga of Juicero, the $400 juice machine maker that attracted $120 million in venture capital funding. On Wednesday, a bombshell Bloomberg report exposed the secret that threatened to ruin the company: You can get almost exactly the same juice without the company’s expensive press by squeezing their damn bags yourself with the hands […]

Random Re-Connection via Twitter

@twoodwar is this the T Woodward I I knew in Cola, SC?!?! I'm still recovering from those suicide kicks! #greengate pic.twitter.com/4HTaNHEi2N — auz1111 (@auz1111) April 7, 2017 That is me- back row, partially obscured (and not just by the camo). Pretty wild that John found me somehow and that we’re both involved in WordPress and web design stuff. It led me to look up another guy from that photo and a few seconds later . . . presto. He was even using that same picture as his avatar (because, as it turns out, they had a bet on who could find me on the Internets). Not world shaking but a fun connection to the past (30-ish years ago!) and one that inspired a bit of digital wandering. I’m relatively sure this is my house back in 5th/6th grade but I’m not entirely sure. I mainly identified it by the creek visible in the map view. I probably spent more time there than in the house. That’d definitely the pond where I used to fish and catch baby turtles (something of a family tradition now). I went to E.L. Wright M.S. before we moved to the hell that was 7th grade in Huntsville, Alabama’s creatively-named Huntsville Middle School.

Open Content Creation at VCU

I’m going to hit a few of the things I’ve done with people around open educational resource creation.1 In the discussion, I’m going to ignore some complexities around the term ‘open’ in order to avoiding dragging the whole post down. My personal definition of open is very liberal2 although I can see the value of Wiley’s R framework in a variety of conversations. Once again, I’ll try to move from simpler to more complex options. The Judah Will The Judah Will is a will that was transcribed and annotated in the digital history class this semester. Ryan Smith is the history professor behind the idea and has been more than awesome to work with. Right now the work is all in Google Docs but we’re looking at paths/tools/display options that will better show the research and conversations that occurred. The simple act of transcribing the will is one act of OER creation and active participation in the field of history. The additional research and investigation of the elements of the will constitutes another layer. The majority of students in the class really enjoyed the process and liked the idea that they were adding to the sum of information available to historians. This activity also enabled the professor to model historical research/thought while interacting with the students on a project with […]

Courses in WordPress

In the same vein as my last post,1 WordPress lets you set up courses just about any way you might want. There are some typical patterns people use but there are also a variety of other options that fit individual needs or just make people happy. I’ve done quite a few different scenarios over the last three years so I figured I’d highlight a few structures and some of the things that make them what they are. The sites in general may or may not also have face-to-face components but I’m choosing examples that are more involved than simple syndication sites (aka mother blogs) or sites that focus on particular projects/assignments. Hopefully these examples show the variation faculty have in terms of what they want and in terms of the flexibility that WordPress can provide. In this case, I do believe I’ll be able to move from simplest to more complex/customized. Simple End of the Spectrum These examples mainly organize and display content and aren’t focused on interaction or student publishing. Usually sites like these predominantly use pages and may not use posts at all. They may also turn off comments to simplify management. The page construction fits neatly within more traditional models of web design. Graphic Design History The goal here was to put up a bunch of sequential […]