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Multimedia projects and questions

2009 April 26
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by Marwa

The projects were all very different and unique. Each has its own message and method/style to convey that message. I liked having this assignment sort of open-ended, letting us explore creativity along with thinking. It might also have opened a lot more questions than a conventional paper would have. It was great to be able to choose our own tool to portray our argument.

What made me nervous though was the fact that I could not be sure that my project will work or can be viewed by my professors and other students the way I could be positive by dropping off the assignment in the office or even putting it up on the blog. My video, for example, was working all right the first day, and then the music stopped working the next day because of copyright issues. I had to change it to something else from a list of approved music, one that I am less fond of than the one I had originally. People viewing it would have just thought that I did not put any music – they would not have known that it was uploaded incompletely the way they would have had I mistakenly uploaded one-half of my paper instead.

Question to project-makers: A lot of you (including myself) asked questions in your presentation for the audience. How would you answer the questions yourself? What did you learn about technology in this multimedia-presentation-making process?

Project Observations and Questions

2009 April 26
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by Roisin Foley

I’ve noticed that these projects allowed people to ask a LOT of questions without necessarily feeling the pressure to come up with some grand conclusion after asking all those questions. Sometimes papers can be restrictive because you can’t bring something up if you can’t prove/disprove it. With this, people seemed to feel free to question without answering. I’ve also noticed that most of these were much more self-focused than our previous classwork. People felt comfortable using their own lives as examples and drawing from their own experiences more than in an academic paper.

I’ve learned a lot. Practically, I learned how to use a presentation tool that I probably wouldn’t have experimented with otherwise. I also learned that I can make an effective argument outside of traditional paper format. I came into the project thinking that the format would make it easier to obscure an argument further, but it actually made it really easy to streamline and only use the important information without having to produce any filler. I’ve also learned that considering the relationship between gender and technology from a personal standpoint is probably the most useful way to consider it, or from the standpoint of an issue about which you have very personal feelings.

My questions for the project-makers are: what did you learn about yourself in the process of making this project? Did you come to any conclusions about your personal conception of gender, technology, or gender and technology? How will this project inform your academic work/life in the future?


2009 April 25
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by Kalyn Schofield

Noticed: These projects succeded in giving everyone their own voice in terms of representing their own distinct version of gender and technology. Another thing I noticed was how all the projects started as ideas. All these ideas were translated, one way or another, into a digital reality. The blog represents the digital reality of cyber space.

Learned: Similar to what I noticed. These projects were “created” and are products of our own thoughts and ideas. In a lot of ways this is similar to what gender is. Gender usually refers to the socially constructed roles, behavior, activities and attributes that society considers appropriate for men and women. In this way we created projects that show our inner persceptions of gender and what it is, can, or should be.

Questions For Project Makers: Is your project an extension of yourself or an extension of technology?

Boys Will Be Girls

2009 April 25
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by Kalyn Schofield

From the Marie Claire April 2009 V.16 Issue 4; pg 90

“At Suan Dusit University, a new initiative to openly recruit ladyboys has drawn 100 of transgenders to the school, where they can wear the girl’s uniform and behave like “ladies” without facing discrimination, and where other transgenders teach and serve as role models.

I believe the full name of the school is Thailand’s Suan Dusit Rajabhat University.

“Chess for Girls”

2009 April 25
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by ppais

While researching for my multimedia project, I came upon this SNL “Chess for Girls” clip that was broadcast sometime in 1997. It basically says that chess is a boy’s game and that you need to ‘doll’ it up to make it understandable and enjoyable for a girl.
Since it’s SNL, I’m torn between amusement and annoyance. What do you think?

Facebook and Work

2009 April 25
by George

One Swiss woman discovered the problems with her online presence on Facebook and her work. She was fired after telling her boss that she had a migraine too painful for work and then was caught by a coworker when she started using her facebook. Read the article here.

I know that now that I am searching for jobs I am considering just blocking my Facebook account or deactivating it altogether. However, Dianna Xu in the last panel stated how everything on the internet will never disappear. How accountable are we for our actions online? Should employers really be firing people over this sort of thing?

Explaining the New Technology

2009 April 24
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by Ruth Goodlaxson

I just posted my multimedia project (a few minutes late because I was having trouble logging in all day) and I wanted to explain it a little. I was thinking a lot about my History of Photography class, specifically the “photojournalist” Weegee and the book projects produced by Ed Ruscha. I was interested in the pure goofiness of Ruscha’s books, which are titled things like Twenty Six Gasoline Stations and Various Small Fires and a Glass of Milk. I wanted to do the same kind of thing, but with a different, new medium: a blog. I also wanted to bring the kind of kitschy attitude Weegee did to photojournalism with my fake reporting piece. (Weegee was really into spectacle and spectatorship, and took pictures of “strange” urban phenomena, like drag queens.) In terms of media, I was trying to question how weight or trust is given to blogs over newspapers – not that they’re inherently less trustworthy, just that you can manipulate both photography and a blog to construct a version of reality you couldn’t otherwise.

In terms of content, this course had me thinking a lot about the effects of technology on the world. I think normally the assumption is that people create, control and maintain technology; but from our discussions about gold farming, I was thinking that there are ramifications and effects of any technology we use that we do not have control over. I wanted to portray pieces of technology as active individuals in the world, in ways they could not possibly act, to call into question how those things actually do operate independent of control people. It’s a very open-ended question that I don’t have an answer for, but in my project I was attempting to encourage people to think about that question.


2009 April 24
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by Baibh Cathba

Okay, so the link won’t list me as the author when I post to the Web-papers 4 page. Grrrr. Just for future reference, I created the “Gender in our Voices” piece.

Explanation for Multimedia Project

2009 April 24
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by Problem Sleuth

So, my multimedia project, Excerpts from a Tamriel Journal, requires a bit of explanation. I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to go and read it as-is. You don’t need to read through its entirety to get the point,; just grabbing scraps of it should be sufficient. I recommend reading the project itself before this explanation.

Essentially, my purpose was to use the single-player Role-Playing Game Oblivion to make a character (named Mezzo) with a very clearly-delineated personality, and attempt to play through the game as this character, making her choices, and keep a journal from her perspective. The idea of trying to treat a non-real person as a real one, distinct from myself, was interesting. I tried to make her similar enough to the characters I normally play that I wouldn’t get bored, and different enough that it would be a challenge keeping things in perspective. I wanted her to be violent, a physical fighter, prideful, zealous, practical, and judgmental, and to have a very firm view of how the world should work and to be willing to uphold that even at her own expense. Her fear of water and racism (underrepresented in her journal) were mostly thrown in for flavor.

As I worked on this I encoutnered a few interesting pulls. I kept finding myself torn between:

-The personality I’d created for her. I wanted to play to her personality, and tried to make this my biggest conscious motivator.

-My own desires for how to play the game. I would happily have the character wade through water to shorten a trip by five minutes, but Mezzo wouldn’t. I would also happily steal things out of someone’s house if given the option, but Mezzo wouldn’t. When I was conscious of her personality, it was easier to maintain these boundaries.

-What I thought would work well in the presentation. For example, there were times where I’d avoid certain quests, thinking they’d be bad or too weird for the journal (my decision to leave the main quest aside for the journal was largely a result of this), and so sometimes I found myself doing things that were interesting to neither Mezzo nor myself.

Basically, I felt really bad when I realized that I was doing something for my sake or for the project’s sake.

I tried to make this as accessible to people unfamiliar with the The Elder Scrolls world as possible. However, for the sake of making things a little clearer, I did link to some pages from the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages, a TES wiki, when I felt that some background information might be useful. I hope it’s legible without those links, but I wanted them present just in case. Essentially, I tried to link those things that I thought would be familiar to anyone likely to stumble upon Mezzo’s journal – for example, most of them would know what the Imperial Legion was. I tried to avoid listing anything that I thought wasn’t common knowledge in-game (so I didn’t link to Mezzo’s hometown, Seyda Neen, since it’s a backwater port town). I also didn’t list anything that would have been more annoying information than anything else for you guys to read (so I didn’t link to major cities in Cyrodiil, since the information is all a list of services and royalty and other boring crap).

I’m not sure if I think this experiment was a success or not. I didn’t get as into the character as I would have liked, to be sure. I didn’t feel like I gave her a distinct enough voice, either. But it was really cool seeing something that would have been insignificant in normal play get turned into something big for the character; the entries for Heartfire 2 and Heartfire 5 are the ones that spring to mind. It did, to a great degree, make me feel like I was in a new world, and certainly made the game world seem more real to me. We’ve been talking about the extent to which our in-game characters are like us, and it was really cool making one that was deliberately not like me. In a world where I’m not interacting with real people and have no need to protect my identity, I’m just not sure what the implications of having a character like that are.

Anyway. I hope you enjoy, or are at least pleasently confused by, my project.


To Bethesda for making this awesome game (copyright 2006, Bethesda website accessed April 24, 2009);

To the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages for wrting about this awesome game (all pages linked accessed on April 23, 2009);

And to Christopher C. Livingston, who wrote “Livin’ in Oblivion,” a blog about his adventures in Oblivion as a Non-Player Character. Though he occasionally breaks character, the journal format for my post was at least partially inspired by Mr. Livingston. He is also responsible for a wonderful comic called “Concerned: The Half-Life and Death of Gordan Froman,” using only screen captures from Half-Life 2 that he set up with a user-generated mod. His innovative use of video games for entertainment purposes is pretty fantastic. (all pages linked accessed on April 24, 2009).

Awesome, guys. Awesome.


2009 April 24
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by Anne Dalke

don’t put your multi-media project here, as a post;
go to Web Papers 4 and put it up as a tagged page.

Orchestrated Video Games

2009 April 23
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by Laura Blankenship

This video of an orchestra playing video game themes with the games showing on a screen in the background. I’ve played most of the games shown. Good times!


2009 April 22
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by Anne Dalke

…from today’s conversation with Lisa and Dianna are up now @ Notes From The Programming Life.

Questions for Lisa Meeden and Dianna Xu

2009 April 22
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by Mista Jay

I think one of the things that struck me the most while reading “Out of time: Reflections on the programming life” was when Ellen Ullman described creating a user interface via, e-mail, without ever really speaking to her other two team members. I know that such an environment would make me extremely uncomfortable–even if I wasn’t the one talking, I would at least feel more comfortable to hear someone else speak. It wouldn’t even have to be to me!

# 1. So I’m really curious if during any time in either of your careers, you had to work in an environment similar to this? How did it feel? Was it natural, or did it become natural over time? If you never really worked in such an environment, how do you think you’d feel, or would you simply not want to work there?

# 2. Also, for a broader question: How much do you find yourselves relating to Ellen Ullman? Have you had similar experiences, but different reactions? Is there anything she has written that you disagree with?

Thank you for coming to speak with us!

Lisa Meehan and Diana Xu: Questions

2009 April 22
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by Kalyn Schofield

Background: As a Gender & Technology class we are constantly making an attempt to understand the many levels in which these two subjects can interact. After reading the story Out of Time: Reflections On The Programming Life by Ellen Ullman, I wondered if a computer scientist would believe that the computer is an extension of themselves or simply one facet of their personality. For instance we’ve previously discussed in class a person’s attachment to their own body and to what extent it affects them. We explored such issues as:  To what extent does the body define a person? (Handmaid’s Tale) Are physical realities/experiences of the body more important than virtual realities/experiences in the mind? (Video gaming).

Question 1: How would you define your relationship with computers? Is the computer an extension of yourself or do you separate yourself from the computer?

Background:We’ve recently explored the video game world and the “obsessive” qualities that some gamers face when playing video games. We’ve specifically looked at WOW (World of Warcraft) in terms of  both small-scale gamers and its larger world wide implications. For example, some people make a living through playing video games compared to others who do it for fun. Other games, such as Second Life, provide a social reality for people as they experience a second “life” through this game. These games and others  provide parallels to the many lives of gamers with both the gaming world and the “real” world they inhabit. When I think of the word “gaming,” I see it as a term used to describe the playing or manipulation of a world/character/or event in a place unassociated with the same rules of reality.

Taking a quote from the Ellen Ullman paper we had to read for class today. “Programming is more like an illness, a fever, an obsession.” (Ullman, pg 1)

Question 2: Would you describe your work as an obsession similar to the obsession gamers feel? If so, was your obsession something you had prior to working in your field and it developed into a job? Or would you describe your job as just “work” and completly seperate from your “real” life? Do the two ever blend together?

multimedia project

2009 April 22
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by Michelle Bennett