The Bologna Blog

a blog about all of the "bologna" in our minds that lead to writing.

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It’s Been Interesting

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As the semester winds down, I sit here procrastinating through production oddly enough. I should really be tending to one of my three gigantic projects / portfolios that are due next week. I should be getting more things accomplished around the house with my vacation time from work. But I counted my blogs and I fell short by one somehow so I am tending to a more immediate assignment.

I’ve never written so much in my life over the course of one semester. Three writing intensive classes are not to be taken lightly with a full work schedule. I haven’t take a single test all semester, but I oddly feel more drained than the days of Bio 101 and Abnormal Psych.

But there is a lesson to take in all that we do in life.

As I tend to do with all major transitions in life paths, I dove in head first with the first stretch of my Writing Arts major.

I can’t swim for the life of me, but I always dive in and see how long I can stay afloat before I start to sink and my lungs fill up with water. I usually stop treading water and wait for the better option to leap from it’s tall white chair to come save my stupid ass.

This time out, I feel like I’m getting the hang of this floating thing. If I survived this semester, I can survive the rest. Granted, I may ease my foot off the metaphorical gas pedal, but at the end of the day I’m still driving the car.

This semester, and this module specifically, have provided me with an opportunity to write for an audience outside of myself and my professors. By expanding the audience to a more public forum, I have started to become more comfortable with expressing my thought with my words.

Hopefully this semester has given fellow students something to take with them in the sense of learning something about themselves. College doesn’t just have to be about learning what the books and teachers tell you to learn. If you allow it to, it can provide an excellent opportunity to learn something about yourself when you look back and reflect on your experiences.

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Written by cor24leone

December 9, 2009 at 10:14 AM

A Twitterific Tool

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I’m tired of writing about Twitter (and social networking sites in general) but here goes…

My last required-by-class blog topic… review a Twitter related application. My Twitter related application… Twitteriffic.

Twitteriffic is a Mac specific, Twitter spun instant messaging application. It docks on the side of your desktop and automatically refreshes as your fellow twits tweet. There is a text box to post your own tweets and there is the option to reply to other tweets.

Essentially, it allows you to keep up with your Twitter account without having a web browser open. It’s a condensed version but it helps prevent complete and utter distraction. You can tweet without getting caught up visiting other peoples profiles or searching for other twits.

The relevance of this application is just that. You can dock it on the side of the screen and go about attending to your daily tasks without getting absorbed into the Twit-o-sphere.

Anybody who has used Twitter understands what I’m talking about. You go on to check in, maybe post a tweet or two, then before you know it, an hour passes by and your scrambling to logout and go about your day. Twitterific helps eliminate that sand trap.

It’s a simple application. There’s not much to it and there’s not much to say about it. But the positive effect it has on a users productivity is nothing to sneeze at. Distraction has been a continual critique on social networking as a whole. Twitterific can help silence those critics, at least a little bit.

Written by cor24leone

December 6, 2009 at 11:49 PM

The Great Network, or The Great Distraction?

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So I had to select someone outside of class to observe and write about the people they follow on Twitter. Being new to Twitter, I found my options formed a rather short list. Then, my lady friend tells me about how her sister is on Twitter and how she is so into it that she gets updates automatically sent to her phone.

I was intrigued and interested in who these people were that she followed and found a need to be connected by the purse. From knowing her, I kinda knew what to expect. And I was spot on.

Outside of her circle of friends, the list of people she follows goes something like this:
Nick Jonas, Adam Lambert, Jimmy Fallon, Justin Timberlake, Jesse McCartney, Taylor Swift, Perez Hilton, Ashley Tisdale, Ellen DeGeneres, and a handful of other lame celebrities.

This is my gripe with Twitter. It gives a local girl next door with a handful of friends this unfathomable connection to a playground of celebutards where she stalks and watches and grasps on to every last tweet the Jonas brothers thumb from their Twitterberries.

Am I being a bit harsh? Hardly. Case in point: This same girl logs on to Perez Hilton’s blog twice a day to get the inside scoop on all the celebrity gossip of the day.

This girl is pre-med. Intelligent. Bright. Distracted.

Who am I to knock another person’s interests? I imagine not everybody gives half a shit about things I’m interested in, like boxing and music that never sees the top 40 charts. I follow a guy by the name of R.A. The Rugged Man… yeah, seriously, that’s his name… I follow him because he’s an abstract hip hop artist and a boxing enthusiast. But at the end of the day there is a difference between a legitimate interest and a celebrity infatuation.

I should have never chosen this person to write this post about being that I have a deep-rooted, underlying annoyance for tabloid gossip junkies, but then again this is my space to write within.

But I’m a nice guy sometimes. To make up for my negative rant, I would like to add in a bonus Twitterer observation by going back to Mr. Rugged Man. As I mentioned, he is an abstract hip hop artist and a boxing enthusiast. If you browse through the people he follows on Twitter, you will find a majority of boxers and up and coming artists. This is where I point to the silver lining in the the clouds.

I don’t know how many times I have pointed out the pros and cons of social networking over the course of this semester. The truth is, it is all in how you use what is offered to you. There’s the option to use them to connect with people of like interests (and career paths) and build networks virtually rather that in the actual physical world, and there’s the option to go star-crazy and let your brain turn to a mushy, gossip laden paper weight. You can be professional about it, or you can be disillusioned and distracted. The choice is ultimately up to you.

Written by cor24leone

December 4, 2009 at 8:59 AM

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New Media and the Future of Journalism

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As we, the people, twist and turn while adjusting to new media technologies and the way they change our lives, industries must in turn learn to do the same.

I read an article this afternoon by Arianna Huffington in which she defends her hybrid form of journalism against the lashings dealt by the tongues of corporate dinosaurs like Rupert Murdoch. I used “dinosaurs” as a metaphor because much like Rupert Murdoch, dinosaurs did not adapt to their environment.

Journalism became stagnate during the years leading up to the Internet boom. Even after, journalists in the newspaper business failed to report on the lead up to the Iraq War and the looming financial disaster. In complicated times, we need to deploy complicated tactics.

New media has that ability to compliment journalistic practices to produce what Huffington referred to as a “hybrid” form of journalism. With the ability to incorporate words with images, articles with videos, and a public forum supported by comment boards and blogs, journalism has no place to go but up. Right?

Not if old dinosaurs refuse to adapt to the changing times and don’t rethink and reinvent their way of production. Consumers know what the want. They have seen the light, so to speak. They know what options are available. Better options.

YouTube threatens television networks who refuse to accept it as a competent competitor. The Huffington Post threatens local and corporate newspapers alike who sit idly without producing a quality website to attract online readers.

With the rise of blogs and vlogs and their volunteered contributions by citizen journalists, the rules of the game changed. No longer does the phrase, “you get what you pay for,” apply. Understandably, professional journalism comes with a price tag. Let the suits figure out the details of splitting up the tab. At the end of the day, it will be their spin on revenue generation that will make or break their existence.

Written by cor24leone

December 2, 2009 at 8:31 AM

The Yin and the Yang of Facebook

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For every yin, there is a yang. For every good, there is a bad. It is the natural balance of life.

Facebook and other forms of social networking are just the same. Sure, they offer a networking database to connect old friends to new friends and colleagues to associates; but there comes a point when we must become aware of just how much we blend our personal and professional circles.

Hot off the AP wire is an article that tells a story of a Canadian woman who lost her benefits because of pictures she posted on her Facebook page. However, this is not the first time such an instance has been brought to the forefront.

Teachers have been warned, fired, and harassed for similar issues in the U.S. as well. It has now become an issue of privacy and professional respect for a person’s personal life.

Employers have been given the means to track the lives of employees while outside of the workplace, as millions of users participate in the social activity unaware.

There are privacy settings that users can set to limit who can see what, but more than half of users pay no mind to them. Even then so, if you become a “friend” of a co-worker, you become susceptible to infiltrations of privacy.

When I created a Facebook account years ago, it was to keep in touch with friends who went away to school. Now, it has become a pop culture phenomenon that spans across multiple generations.

I’ve gotten add requests from aunts, uncles, cousins half my age, my mother, my crazy ex-girlfriends, co-workers… people outside of my social circle who find a need to be a part of it, to condone or disapprove of my friends and colleagues and any tidbit of my personal life.

While I am conscious of privacy settings, many of my friends are not. They post pictures of me without my approval and tag me in them so they are added to my page.

Who knows who will see those pictures of me? It’s not that difficult to dig for dirt on somebody if you know how to finagle your way through the network. Who’s to say that employers don’t hire specialty web surfers for HR purposes.

Pictures your friends may post of you half drunk at your birthday party may keep you from getting that job one day. You might not even have a Facebook account, but you are still susceptible to this public spy network.

Written by cor24leone

November 23, 2009 at 5:28 AM

We Am the Line Drawers

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We’ve seen the movies. Robots and machines team up to take over the world. Terminator, iRobot, Wall-E… it’s a growing trend these days. That could have to do with the expanding capabilities of the technologies we use today.

At some point, we must responsibly consider the technological grounds we have paved before movies become the new age Nastradamus. In her 1995 Wired Magazine article “Who Am We”, Sherry Turkle presents an interesting take to allow you to ponder for yourself.

How real are computers? Can we consider them to be alive? They think for themselves in more complex algorithms than the average human being. They provide a virtual playground and social network greater than any work place or college campus.

Where do we draw the line between a living and non-living object?

While computers lack emotional concept that often drives the argument leaning toward non-living, one must also consider the emotional lacking of plants and micro-organisms that are considered living.

What’s that you say about computers not breathing life? Without electricity, computers are just as dead as any mammal without oxygen and any plant without carbon dioxide. Pulling the power cord out of the wall is essentially the same as wrapping a rope around your neck and cutting off the flow of oxygen to your brain.

If you think about it, what makes plants living organisms? Sure, they breathe; but they don’t move, they don’t feel, and they don’t think.

The intelligence of computer systems is simply astonishing. From video game A.I. to robots and smart homes, the interactive capabilities we experience is similar to that we have with living beings.

In her article, Turkle compares robots to Pinocchio, a wooden puppet that turns into a living, breathing boy. Robotics is not far from creating human-like robots that perform daily activities much like we do.

It’s just a matter of time before we see robots in the home much similar to those we saw in the movie iRobot and in the video below.

Written by cor24leone

November 21, 2009 at 7:27 AM

The Digital Takeover

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I’m not so sure I know what to think about the Kindle. I can’t argue that it seems destined to take over the publishing world, turning paper products to digital display, but what are people saying about it?

I read an article yesterday by Benjamin Dangel, who argued against the Kindle. His main focal point of his argument… he likes the story of the journey a book makes in its lifetime. Really.

As I was reading the article, I remembered back to learning about societies of the past rejecting new technologies to save face and prevent change. But this kind of change can actually provide better means for aspiring authors.

The publishing process is long and drawn out and creates so much waste and lost revenue. Because of this, publishers are more particular with who they select to publish. In turn, you need an agent to sell your idea or your product to the publisher just so they can turn around and sell it to the rest of the world.

With the Kindle, you could theoretically cut all of the middlemen out. The author and the digital publisher survive the shift and less money slips through the cracks and into the hands of people who do very little lifting during the process.

The only thing that irks me about the digital account accessible online is that of the privacy issue. Last year, readers who purchased George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm had their digital copies deleted from their account and were reimbursed $1 for the inconvenience.

If that’s not Orwellian enough to make you uncomfortable then you’ve obviously never read any of his books.

The fact that it was Orwell’s books that were accessed and taken away from consumers just makes the story more coincidental and relevant to the privacy issue. The way I see it, I don’t like the idea of the government being able to access my library and remove books that they deem a threat to society.

Only time will tell how this technology plays out… until then, I’ll stick to the traditional paper format.

Written by cor24leone

November 19, 2009 at 4:00 AM

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