DH 1001 Portfolio

My response to ‘The Internet’s Own Boy

I am usually not a person who enjoys watching documentaries; this one was one of the exceptions. It had my attention the entire time. One of the things that struck me about this documentary was a strong sense of injustice and the way it was portrayed. It was very strange to me watching this documentary about this guy I had never heard of before, Aaron Swartz and watching as this completely unfair chain of events that happened to him. Then I watched it again. 

My second viewing allowed me to think about more than just Aaron the person and his family and to consider more about the other layer of this story and by the end of it, I found myself with one question. Why? Why did the FBI deem it necessary to spy on this young man in the first place? He wasn’t a dangerous criminal. He had no malicious intentions at all. So why him? It made me angry asking that question to be perfectly honest because I couldn’t personally find a good one. To me, it just like Aaron was like an ant, and the FBI was a magnifying glass under the sun. That was when I decided for myself to look at something else in the documentary. A different why in all of this. Why did Aaron do what he did in the first place?  I think the simplest explanation is because he didn’t believe people should have to pay for information they should be entitled to, which led me to a completely different question.

Why wasn’t it like that in the first place? Why were these websites and forums charging people money for something they should be allowed access to anyway? Greed. That is the only answer I can think of that fits. These companies, like JStor, held all the keys to all the doors and were refusing to leave them unlocked for the public. I can understand why Aaron downloaded all those files from MIT. It wasn’t out of spite for anyone. It was about setting something right. 

As for the documentary itself, I think Brian Knappenberger did an awe-inspiring thing with this documentary. It was honest and above all, very respectful of Aaron and his loved ones who he left behind. It covered the events of his life very well, and I felt that I had learned a lot from watching it and gained a new perspective. 

If you want to watch the film and you haven’t yet (which I highly recommend you do) I will have it linked here

My response to ‘A Domain of One’s Own’  (WIRED article)

I think the idea of having students create their own domain is a brilliant idea not only for school but for life in general. By having their own domain, it exposes them more to the world outside of their own personal realm. It allows for potential employers to see their work and know exactly what the student is capable of. It allows people of similar interest to find them and engage together and benefit as a whole. While I do think some students might struggle in managing a website at first, I think by learning how to do as such could help them later on in managing other projects in the future. I also don’t think it’s any harm for them to have a place where they know all of their educational materials are stored safely and under their control. 

If you want to read the WIRED article I recommend looking it up if you get the chance as I was unable to add a link for it here.

Follow up-to above: I think having a domain of one’s own is essential outside of educational purposes. Having an environment or a domain of your own can allow you to free yourself and showcase things you are passionate about. For example, I have an Instagram account for my art. It has roughly 100 followers and isn’t engaged by many, but it is essential to me. Having this domain has allowed me to have my own space in which I can express my creativity freely. It allows me to explore my artistic ideas without compromise and a reason to keep experimenting with what I love. This new domain my website, I hope, can become something similar to become more comfortable sharing more of my voice with the outside world. A space where I might feel safe to share my thoughts on events in the world, express opinions on shows I enjoy or like my Instagram, showcase my creative endeavours. The beauty of it is that it’s entirely my own choice and the possibilities are limitless.

My response to the Blanke article about digital publishing

Publishing has typically meant the preparing and releasing of books, journals and other material for sale. With the involvement of technology, it has become a bit more complicated. As the article states “Any publication like this must involve some sort of transformation from physical to digital form” meaning that what we see online is just a representation of the thing on the screen, not the actual thing. What we see on the screen can look very different from the real thing like the colours, for instance, could be different from a painting on a screen to the physical copy or even the same picture but on a different screen.

In saying that digital publishing has developed significantly over the recent years, offering us new ways to interpret digitised sources. One great example of this is publishing the manuscripts online, but instead of trying to reproduce the document in full it reduces the document into smaller and smaller parts so that information may be used “in an attempt to assist knowledge creation through enabling active analysis, comparison, and manipulation.” This refinement of manuscripts is an excellent way that digital publishing has helped the act of publication improve. Refining information down allows the reader/ user to find the information they are looking for much more straightforward and save them a significant amount of time. This can make all the difference for researchers—especially ones more sensitive to the blue light from their screens.

Another new way for us to interpret media is ‘reflectance transformation imaging’ which according to the article “rejects the simple image as ‘faithful reproduction’ and allows the viewer to change the lighting and colour through the way the image is filtered” allowing the user to be able to highlight important aspects of the image. This includes things like it’s 3D shape, textures and other things that could have been potentially lost had it been merely a static image. This use of technology in digital publishing allows for a more authentic representation of the image than what would have been available previously. Alternatively, one could use ‘virtual reality’ as it is a very engaging digital source that immerses the user entirely into what they see.

If you want to read the article about digital publishing that I am addressing you can download it below.

Follow up-to above: Something that has always made uncomfortable with digital publishing, particularly with books was the loss of touch. As someone on the autistic spectrum, it is often difficult for me to be overstimulated sensory wise. However, I have found that some parts of my hypersensitivity bring me great joy over the years, like what I notice about books. I like the texture of pages in the book, the way they’re not entirely smooth, the physical weight of them all bound together. Even the sound of the page-turning is something that brings me comfort. When reading this article, I found that I had to print it rather than read it on the screen because computers make my head hurt sometimes. They buzz, and the light makes eyes hurt so had I read this article on a laptop, I would have learned nothing in all honesty. But I did read it on paper and realised that there is another side to digital publishing that I hadn’t considered before—the ability to see the same thing from a different perspective. I hadn’t considered that digital publishing might be a smarter option for some people, but when I was reading the article, it mentioned how we could zoom into pages. It made me think of people who might have difficulty reading most books because the average font size was too small. Then I thought about how digital publishing people are given more options for consuming media, like audiobooks. I realise this was not the point of the article, but I thought it was interesting and wanted to note it.