10

As We May Think – Annotated

Below is my attempt to use Bush’s essay “As We May Think” as an associative trail. While the hyperlinks are good to go, I don’t think the comments will work all that well in the HTML published format so you can always join in on the actual Google Doc. It’s a mixture of the questions that came to mind as I read, hyperlinks out to additional information, and some other connections that occurred simply because of the way my mind is structured. It made for an interesting experiment and decent preparation for the upcoming #thoughtvectors course. A Google Doc is certainly an easy way to do a version of an associative trail. It allows for hyperlinking and commenting but leaves a bit to be desired in terms of embedding in the blog. I’d like to be able to trigger something like digress.it on the post level in blogs. I’ve tried a number of annotation tools but have yet to find one that really does quite what I want. I certainly use diigo’s highlight/notes function on a regular basis but I worry about the non-html elements on the long term side of things. It also falls short in that I can’t respond or extend note elements in the way I’d like.

Four Leaf Clovers, Question Paths, & Literal Names

Yesterday, I decided I’d look for four leaf clovers getting in and out of my car. Not hanging out searching, just opening my eyes and paying a bit more attention. Wikipedia tells me there’s one four leaf clover per 10,000 three leaf clovers. What surprises me is despite their relative rarity just how many four leaf clovers seem to be out there. It’s like interesting things. If you just start looking around, you end up amazed at how many interesting things surround you daily that you never noticed. One interesting thing leads to another. It gets to be harder to pay attention to more mundane things like crossing the road because there are so many interesting things to see and think about. Generating Questions I tried to take pictures representing each question I had walking to work the other day. I only decided to do it about halfway in but it was interesting to see it snowball because I made it intentional. The results are embedded below as a set. Additional questions are sometimes in the descriptions and won’t be visible in the embedded view. Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR. Literally Literal Dodge Caravan takes on a very odd feel if you read it literally. I decided to start capturing all the car/bike names I came across that were also actual […]

Keynote “Flowing Ribbon” Tutorial

This is just one of those weird little things that might come in handy for someone someday plus I’m always happy to see software do things that are just a bit off standard. Part of our online summer courses is creating course trailers. One of the instructors wanted to portray the connection between stages in a persons’s life as connected by a moving ribbon that links different representational photographs together. A cool idea and one that I wanted to support. Given we’re dealing with a large number of people, the goal was to do something that was quick and relatively easy. I may yet choose another piece of1 software but I managed to do the example above in Keynote (Apple’s version of PowerPoint). I’m pretty sure you could do it in PPT as well. Step one is to put the image in and draw some lines with the vector tool. It’ll be easiest if you end the ribbon in one of the main directions of movement (up, down, left, right). In this case I chose down. The vector drawing tool in Keynote is quite different from what you’re used to in Illustrator or Photoshop or anything I’ve ever used. I kind of like it but it’s different. Once you have that set up, select the line and click on “Build […]

Two Different Time Lapse Experiments

Time Lapse Trip from Richmond VA to Tampa FL from Tom Woodward on Vimeo. This is my first attempt with the GoPro. I think it’s set to one shot every 30 seconds. You can see me fiddling with the settings a few different times if you’re masochistic enough to watch it through. The battery ran out early in the trip and resulted in me using it without the stand. That helps explain the repeated drifting as the USB cord1 pulls it slowly towards the driver’s side. It is interesting to see a 12.5 hr trip condensed down to 4 minutes or so. I may do it on the way back but pointed mostly towards the sky or maybe at the kids. Knowing where the stops were makes me wonder if something similar would make for a interesting take on Dan Meyer’s original graphing stories. On the other end of the time lapse spectrum is this attempt to condense one my attempts to fix a photo from the reddit pic request group. This one is kind of amusing to me in that you can see me googling some stuff for a sick child in the middle and finishing up with some posts to reddit and flickr. There is no sound but it’d be pretty easy to narrate if you wanted to […]

If it seems like playing . . .

If it seems like I’m playing lately it is because I am. The last week or so has been an exploration of all sorts of fairly odd things. Markov chains, Twitterbots, McRibs1, photo walks to name a few items. These are easy things to dismiss as trivial. It’s not necessarily obvious how these strange wanderings connect back to outcomes that other people may want or how they mesh with the idea of online learning at VCU. I believe that’s because we’ve created a belief that (in many things) we know both where we are (point A) and where want to go (point B) and that whatever gets us between these two points most “efficiently” is the best path. I’m going to try to both justify the value of a wandering path by pulling in pretty disparate examples2 from time/space with some recent examples of these wanderings coming to fruition. Similar patterns of over-narrowing happen in lots of areas. People tend to think they know lots of things they don’t.3 I see elements of this narrowing in terms of the echo chamber, the specification focused patterns of today’s world4, and the general lack of joy evident in work and school.5 Here’s a fairly typical pattern for me. Stage One – September 2011 On Sept. 22, 2011 at 10:48 PM6, I took […]

14

Markov Tweet Generator Code, Path, & Potential

The following is how I adapted the Markov chain generator from Hay Kranen. Thanks to the comments1 I found below Hay’s post2 this Markov + Shakespeare version inspired me to figure out the “post-to-Twitter” option.3 Anyway, the much cleaner version is up and running. It now allows you to push the results to Twitter although I’m still adjusting this a bit. The code for the page I modified is below. It’s still slower than I’d like but it’ll do for now. The fact that I can go from a conversation one day to a fairly finished product the next is the piece that amazes me about computers and the Internet. I cannot stress enough that I don’t know how to write PHP. I feel that’s a statement of empowerment. This project took about three hours of work. 95% of that was searching/research and breaking it and then fixing it.4 Someone who knew what they were doing could probably knock it out in ten minutes. Now how is this more than just random #ds106 amusement? I think the generator works a little like this example about machine imagined artworks5. So there’s a chunk of human constructed meaning from machine assembled pieces. It doesn’t always work but that’s part of why I like having a human layer between generation and Twitter publishing […]

13

Markov Chains, Horse e-Books and Margins

In discussing trajectories, elements of engineered serendipity, “thought vectors in concept space” with Gardner and Jon yesterday the following occurred. Gardner shared this video (which is well worth watching and I rarely have the patience for videos). That led to a discussion about creating and using a MOOC/hashtag specific Twitterbot (like horse e-books but real1) using Markov Chains2 to create algorithmically driven conversations/connections that occur in the margins of intention and result.3 So I began messing with the idea last night. Given I have a completely illusionary knowledge of programming I looked for people to tell me how to do this. I found the metaphor a minute tutorial which will help me out with the Twitterbot end of things in the near future. I also found this PHP based Markov generator which does very nearly what I want absent the Twitter-ing part. I did want to automate the connection to a particular Twitter hashtag rather than adding the content manually so I started wandering around looking for ways to do that. Step one was trying to use curl. I eventually semi-melded some curl examples with the Markov generator. I was using the Twitter search for #ds106 as the source initially. With curl you are pulling the html so I got some interesting pieces but a fair amount of code fragments […]

Diigo Summary Posts CSS Modification

I haven’t found a better way to do the weekly summary posts than Diigo, so I spent five minutes messing with the CSS to make it look a little more like what I’d like. You can do this in WordPress from the WP Admin sidebar under Appearance>Edit CSS. .diigo-linkroll li { list-style-type: none; } .diigo-link a { background: #e6e6e6; font-size: 1.25em; padding: 2px; display: block; } .diigo-tags { display: none; } The first piece (.diigo-linkroll li) gets rid of the unordered list structure. The second portion (.diigo-link a) makes slightly larger text and puts a gray background behind the links- which essentially function like headers for the different articles referenced. The final piece (.diigo-tags) just makes the auto-included tags invisible. I may need to rethink this but it does clean up the post which looked far too messy for my tastes. You can see the side by side comparison below.

Historical Selfies

These were all focused on historical “selfies” right before disasters but you could do the opposite. I was inspired by the horrible and fascinating Selfies at Funerals Tumblr. You might also be appalled/inspired by Rich Kids of Instagram. I really don’t know quite enough about the selfie/hashtag culture to do this really well. The details with hashtags are what make it interesting and you need to do some research to make it work properly. There is work in humor. Get the Photoshop template here.

RVA Zombie Walk and Internet Karma

I brought my two older boys to the RVA Zombie Walk. It was our first time and it was pretty amazing just how many people participated and how professional many of the costumes were. I wanted to take pictures but I also wanted to be able to give those pictures to the participants if they wanted them. As a result I put a little more effort into metadata than I usually do and I made sure I got the pictures online quickly. My daily Flickr views usually hover around 2,000. You can see just a bit of a spike as a result of the zombie pictures. That’s amusing in certain ways but if lots of views was my aim I’d play a very different game. I do like that the people looking for these particular images were able to find them. What’s more I got some comments on a few of the images from people who knew some additional details. I love those interactions. It’s something that Alan talks about with his True Stories of Openess. Here Bryan talks a bit about the screech he made that impressed me so much. I was also able to point him to another picture I took of him that I liked. It’s not a world changing interaction but I find it fascinating and […]